By looking at the above photo, you may be tempted to think this is a small sandwich. I can tell you that it’s not. If I could have taken a decent photo, I would have put my hand next to it. It’s huge. I’m guessing it weighed about four or five pounds.
I found this recipe in Paulette Michell‘s cookbook called Vegetarian Sandwiches. She calls it an Omelet Focaccia Sandwich because, well, she used facoccia. When I was in the grocery store looking for the necessary ingredients, I passed by some facaccia. It didn’t meet my needs. I picked it up, turned it around a few times, grimaced and placed it back on the rack. Too thin. It was at that moment I decided to blaze my own trail. I walked over to the other side of the specialty bread table and grabbed a loaf of Italian bread. I figured I’d have more fun if I made this sandwich the way I know how to make it. Large and in charge.
The original recipe calls for 4 eggs, I used 8. It also calls for 1 teaspoon of herbs, I used 2. Double the onion, double the pepper and double the goat cheese. Needless to say, Laura and I have leftovers for lunch today. The sandwich was so large, even after being cut in half, there was no way for us to finish it last night. I can’t say I’m disappointed about that either because of the whole leftover thing.
There’s a lot of flavor in this sandwich. The ingredients used are very good. One thing brings out the flavor of another and so on. I thought I would enjoy the peppers the most, but surprisingly, what I feel really popped was the herbes de Provence. They stood out tremendously. I actually smelled them before taking my first bite. I think it’s the fennel seed and the rosemary that made the day. Delicious.
When preparing this recipe, I suggest you purchase and extra loaf of Italian bread. Even though one is fairly large, I wasn’t able to fit all the doubled up ingredients on it. We decided to add them to our salads, but if we had another roll or something like that, we could have made more sandwiches. I’m just trying to think outside the box here.
Makes: 1 Huge Sandwich
1 Large Loaf of Italian Bread (the wide kind)
8 Ounces of Goat Cheese
8 Large Eggs
4 Tablespoons Water
2 Teaspoons Herbes de Provence
2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium Sized Yellow Onion, Sliced Thin
2 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons Butter, Unsalted
2 Cups Fresh Spinach, Coarsely Chopped
1 Cup Romano Cheese, Shredded
2 Red Bell Peppers, Roasted (see recipe)
Ground Black Pepper
I’ll explain how to make the roasted peppers below, but if you’re interested right now, you can check out this recipe. Head down to the Prepare the Roasted Red Bell Peppers section.
Prepare the Bread
Slice the loaf of Italian bread in half and then spread the 8 ounces of goat cheese on the insides of both pieces. It helps to warm the goat cheese some, so it’s not crumbly. You want it to spread easily, like mayonnaise.
Prepare the Eggs
Crack the 8 eggs into a medium sized bowl. Add the 4 tablespoons of cold water and whisk well. Then, mix in the 2 teaspoons of herbes de Provence. Once finished, set the bowl aside for later use.
I’m not sure if herbes de Provence is sold in stores. It probably is, but it sure wasn’t where I go shopping. Because of this, I had to make my own. The ingredients consist of dried basil, fennel seeds, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, summer savory and thyme. I went with equal parts of each herb and things turned out wonderfully. Having most of these ingredients on hand is more likely than finding this overall ingredient in a grocery store.
Here’s what the mixture looks like:
Turn on Your Broiler
At this point, go ahead and turn your oven broiler on low. You’ll need the oven to be warm for the next step.
Prepare the Roasted Peppers
Making roasted peppers is very simple. Here’s how to do it. Cut 2 whole red bell peppers in half and clean out the insides. Also, remove the stems.
Take the 4 pepper halves and place them, insides faced down, into a large skillet. I always use my Lodge cast iron skillet for this.
With the palm of your hand, push down on each of the peppers so they flatten out. Then, drizzle some regular olive oil over the pepper halves and brush the oil in so it’s uniform across all the skin. You can lightly salt the peppers at this point as well, if you wish.
Place the skillet in your oven on low for about 10 minutes. This step is meant to warm the peppers and to soften them slightly. Things won’t look very different inside the oven during this time.
Next, increase the boiler heat to high and closely monitor the skins on the peppers. They will begin blistering and will change color very fast. Once they begin to char and look like the photo below, remove the skillet from the oven and turn off the heat.
Once the peppers have finished cooking, transfer them to a cutting board and slice each half into 1/2 inch pieces. Place them in a bowl for later use.
Prepare the Onions & Garlic
Warm the same skillet over medium-high heat on your stove top. Then, add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to it. After that, add the sliced onions to the pan. Cook the onions, while stirring, for about 5 minutes or until they soften up nicely. Then, add in the 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. Cook, while stirring, for another 1 or 2 minutes.
When finished, place the onion and garlic mixture in a bowl for later use.
Cook the Eggs
Keep the same skillet over the medium-high heat on your stove top and add the 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to the pan. When the butter begins to bubble and is completely melted, add in the egg mixture.
Let the eggs cook for 1 minute and then take a spatula and push the sides of the eggs in towards the middle. The goal here is to get the entire omelet to cook without flipping it. By pushing the sides towards the middle, you’ll move the cooked sections and allow the raw egg to make its way to the edges to firm up. I took a photo of mine about half way through the process.
Keep doing this until all the raw egg is firm. Then, remove the pan from heat and turn off the stove.
Turn your oven on to 300 degrees.
Assemble the Sandwich
Spread a large piece of aluminum foil on one of your counter tops and place the bottom of the Italian loaf on the aluminum foil. After that, fold the omelet in half inside the skillet and slide it onto the bread.
At this point, you can season with some sea salt and some ground black pepper.
Next, add the onion and garlic mixture on top of the omelet.
And then add the chopped spinach on top of the onions and garlic.
Continue with adding the shredded romano cheese and the sliced roasted red bell peppers.
After all the ingredients are added to the sandwich, place the remaining bread on top.
Wrap Sandwich & Heat in Oven
The sandwich is finished. All that’s left is to heat it up in the oven so the cheese melts. To do this correctly, you’ll want to wrap the entire sandwich in the aluminum foil. I did this in the photo below, but what’s no shown are the two additional pieces that I added to each end.
Once it’s wrapped, you can place it on a baking sheet and in the oven for 15 minutes.
The Final Sandwich
This is what my sandwich looked like after I pulled it out of the oven and unwrapped a portion of it. I was pleasantly surprised. It was thoroughly heated through and smelled great.
And this is what it looked like after I cut it in half. I enjoyed this even more.
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