There’s a famous bakery, named Porto’s, that opened several years ago in Southern California that is known for low priced pastries, savory goods, and cakes. As soon as they opened, they quickly gained popularity; word about their delicious potato balls and guava pastries spread like wildfire. Despite the long lines, I had to go try it myself. I agree that their bakery selection is top notch for the prices; however, upon trying their sandwiches on multiple occasions, I have to say, the quality and taste do not match the rest of their goods. On my last visit, I decided to give the roasted vegetable sandwich with hummus a try. I was thoroughly disappointed once again. The vegetables were bland, there was barely any hummus and the bread was not even toasted! My stomach unsatisfied, I came home and decided to make a proper vegetarian sandwich. Here is my version of a grilled vegetable sandwich with tomato jam, kale pesto and goat cheese (a big improvement, if I do say so myself!).
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Almost every grilled or roasted vegetable sandwich has some combination of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, portobello mushrooms, and cheese. I took the same ingredients but put my own twist on the produce, creating a completely different sandwich. Since all of the ingredients are vegetables, I wanted to make everything as flavorful as possible.
The first step is preparing the tomato jam. I love, love, love tomato jam. More like a relish than a jam, it is savory, tart, sweet all at the same time. I’ve used this sauce not only for sandwiches but also for seared duck, salmon, steaks, you name it. Make a large batch and it uses it for various toppings, you won’t regret it.
The second sauce component is the kale pesto. You can use basil pesto, cilantro pesto, arugula pesto, but my preference is the kale variety for extra nutrition. Prepare as you would any other pesto, substituting the greens for kale. Using kale in the pesto is yet another way to maximize flavor in the greens.
While the jam is cooking, grill the zucchini and eggplant. Roast the peppers, peel the skin and slice. You can also purchase jarred roasted peppers. If in season, try roasted pimento peppers in this grilled vegetable sandwich. They are mild and sweet to the taste, similar to a red bell pepper.
Spread the kale pesto, stack the vegetables, top with goat cheese and finish with tomato jam. To make the goat cheese nice and gooey, spread butter on the outside of the bread and heat on a pan as you would grilled cheese. Alternatively, use a panini press!
Okay, I will admit, there are a lot of components in this grilled vegetable sandwich. One may think there is one too many, but all the sauces and flavors come together so well to produce a cohesive sandwich. Take just one bite, I dare you. You won’t be trying any other vegetarian sandwiches after this one!
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.