Surprise! It's Summer 2016. Wet, cool, and nothing like the hot May and early June heatwave.
We expect our bumper crop of tomatoes from Martinez Farm in about two weeks. When we build fat BLTs and the simple and delicious Caprese Panini. In the meantime we are debuting a new sandwich in Kennewick, Richland, and Downtown Walla Walla (Drive Thru gets left our).
The PEGG (our shorthand lingo for Panini Eggplant) is a beauty. It is colorful, clean, simple, and this nearly vegan sandwich satisfies as if you had some protein in it. Weirdly, I have always thought the best vegetarian dishes resemble protein dishes when one's satiety level (your body's feeling of fullness/completion) is maximized. NOT "oh I ate a ton and my belly is full", the "that was delicious and I don't feel the urge to eat a Snickers an hour later". I eat this sandwich with the side salad and vinaigrette.
Back to the PEGG. Round slices of eggplant are high heat roasted until just soft and barely colored. We use a tiny bit of pure olive oil and kosher salt and pepper. The Italian bread is given a little mayo on one slice, and a spread of roasted garlic on the other, and then topped with two slices of provolone cheese. Roasted eggplant is layered, and then we mandolin slice raw zucchini rounds and sprinkle on some julienned oil packed sun dried tomatoes. The sandwich is grilled with pure olive oil, rubbed with raw garlic, and then sprinkled with a touch of Morton's Kosher Salt. The vegan version is simple, eliminate the cheese and mayo.
We are temporarily taking the portabella mushroom off the menu while eggplant and zucchini are in season. Pretty sad day for us. The portabella has been on the menu since day one. Vegetarians love it. Vegans love it, minus cheese add avocado is delicious. But we only have so much panini making space, and the Eggplant Panini needs some room to shine.
Cheers - Thanks for eating sandwiches!