One look at this Martha Stewart recipe and I knew I had to make it.
The colors of this bountiful sandwich made it irresistible. Grilled Bell Peppers, Red Onions and Broccolini, the hint of melted cheese and the toasty crust of a baguette added to its allure. But the original name for it—Summer Veggie Melts with Caper Sauce—somehow didn’t do it justice. It was far more Banh Mi than Hoagie. And once I had my first bite, the toasted crust gave way to the softness of the bread. Provolone, the meltiest of cheeses, brought the flavors together. And the caper-studded Chile Lime Mayonnaise I used gave just the right seasoning. The sandwich can be made on the grill or on a sheet pan under the broiler as I did.
Americans eat more than 300 million sandwiches a day.
We eat as many sandwiches every day as there are people to eat them. The sandwich might just be the perfect food. Portable, open to countless ingredients, it can be as simple as two slices of bread with a layer of butter between them. Or they can be more elaborate affairs like today’s recipe. They can epitomize a whole city—New Orleans’ Po-Boy, Philadelphia’s Philly Cheesesteak—or memorialize their inventors. The Sloppy Joe was named for a short-order diner cook. The Reuben, often associated with New York City, is in fact named for a participant in a weekly poker game in Omaha Nebraska. It may surprise you to know that Americans didn’t always embrace the sandwich. They were considered relics of our colonial past. So much so that the first recipe for one didn’t appear in any American cookbook until 1815.
Today’s Sandwich can be traced back to England in 1762.
John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, had a notorious gambling habit. During one particularly long binge at the card table, he asked his cook to bring him something he could eat without getting out of his seat. The sandwich was born. Montagu loved his meat and bread concoction so much, he ate them constantly. London society took to the sandwich and gave them the Earl’s name. By the time of the American Revolution, the sandwich was well established in England. But it did not take off in this country. American cooks wanted nothing to do with anything English. The name itself came from the British peerage– something Americans had just shaken off. Finally, the memory dimmed and the sandwich took off. Oddly, the most popular sandwich of the day was not ham or turkey but tongue. Here’s today’s recipe and after it, some other sandwiches to enjoy.
Summer Vegetable Sandwich with Chile Lime Mayo and Capers
Grilled Bell Peppers, Red Onions Broccolini, a hint of melted cheese and chile lime mayo all wrapped up in a toasted, crusty baguette
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup Chile Lime mayonnaise (Available at Trader Joe’s) or Hellman’s
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained and roughly chopped
- 2 bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut lengthwise into sixths
- 1 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 1 bunch Broccolini, tough ends trimmed (8 ounces)
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling and brushing
- Vegetable oil, for grill
- 1 soft baguettes (cut into 12 inches halves), split
- 4 ounces thinly sliced provolone
- Step 1 Put the mayonnaisse into a small bowl. Add the capers and stir. Set aside.
- Step 2 Put a rack 6 inches below the broiler element in the oven.
- Step 3 Turn the broiler on low so the oven will heat up. Alternately, heat grill to high for both direct and indirect cooking. Drizzle bell peppers, onion, and Broccolini lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the bell peppers and onions on a sheet pan. If grilling, brush grates with vegetable oil. Turn the broiler up to high. Put the sheet pan in the oven for four to five minutes or until the peppers and onion are charred in places and crisp/tender. Add the broccolini. Turn the broiler down to low and cook all the vegetables for another four minutes. If using a grill, grill vegetables over direct heat, turning occasionally, until charred in places and crisp-tender, 8 to 9 minutes for peppers and onions, 4 to 5 minutes for Broccolini. Transfer to a plate. Tent with foil.
- Step 4 Turn the broiler to high, brush the bread with olive oil and grill, cut-sides up, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Then add provolone slices to both sides of the bread and melt in 2 to 3 minutes. If grilling, flip the bread and move to indirect heat. Add cheese to one side, cover grill, and melt for 2 to 3 minutes. Spread chile-lime mayo over one-half of the melted provolone. Layer vegetables over melted cheese and mayo. Cut each baguette in half to serve.