Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Sandwiches can make Super Bowl good for you

Eat Your Vegetables

By Angela Stephens
Gannett News Service

If you're looking for healthy alternatives for Super Bowl party fare, check out natural, specialty and bakery-style restaurants as well as high-end markets with delis. They usually offer an interesting array of choices in good-for-you soups and sandwiches.

Some of the most popular sandwiches on these menus are vegetarian, too. Roasted veggies such as eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, tomatoes and marinated vegetables like artichokes, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes are combined with interesting cheeses such as mozzarella, Gorgonzola or provolone and stacked onto specialty breads and rolls.

Once you get hooked on some of these specialty sandwiches, you'll probably realize they aren't so difficult to create in your own kitchen. Take a basic recipe, such as the one below, and tailor it to your own tastes.

For example, adding some grilled zucchini to the eggplant, or some roasted red bell peppers, creates a much more complex flavor.

Try creating your own spread for your sandwich by combining herbs or a bit of Dijon-style mustard to mayonnaise, plain yogurt or cream cheese.

Don't forget about your choice of bread. While it may be as simple as the crusty white bread suggested below, most larger markets have a fun selection of artisan-style breads and rolls that would make that special sandwich just right.

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with Mozzarella

1 clove garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 small eggplants, about 11/2 pounds

Salt and freshly ground pepper

8 ounces thinly sliced mozzarella

8 slices crusty white bread

1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

Mince or crush the garlic and add it to the olive oil. Let it stand for at least 30 minutes.

Remove stem ends from the eggplants and cut them crosswise into one-quarter-inch slices. Do not peel them.

Grill slices over medium heat until well browned on both sides, seasoning with salt and pepper and lightly brushing with the garlic-flavored oil as they cook. Allow eggplants to cool in a single layer on a tray or platter and brush with the oil as they cool.

For each sandwich arrange a double layer of eggplant slices on a slice of bread and top with cheese, a generous layer of basil and another slice of bread. Makes 4 servings.

The Art of the Sandwich (Chronicle Books; 1990) by Jay Harlow

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