Monday, October 6, 2014

Focaccia and Pickled Vegetable Sandwich

Focaccia and Pickled Vegetable Sandwich

 I came across this sandwich when we were living in cramped quarters while we remodeled our home.  It was on Food52, called ‘The Scuttlebutt’ and it seemed like a fun sandwich- focaccia, pickled vegetables, feta and boiled eggs and you could make it vegan if you wanted easily by eliminating a few ingredients (the eggs, feta cheese and use vegenaise).  It does take time and planning ahead.  The focaccia dough has to rise in the refrigerator overnight and the pickled vegetables should be in the pickling solution for at least a day.  The vegetables also work well on a green salad, without making a sandwich.  All in all, a great light dinner or hearty lunch, well worth the effort according to my Tasting Partner and our youngest son and his significant other. Thanks to our youngest son for the photo.  Well done.

recipes after the jump
 Focaccia and Pickled Veggie Sandwich

For the Pickles 
1 bunch beets (about 5 or 6)
¼ cup olive oil
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt, divided
2 cups red wine vinegar
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 whole star anise pods, broken up
8 whole allspice berries
8 medium carrots, peeled and very thinly sliced into rounds or on a bias
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
½ cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 √°rbol chiles


2 heaping cups of fresh herbs (I like mint, parsley, and dill), picked and chopped
A few scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
A few radishes, thinly sliced
¼ cup capers
½ cup pitted, oil-cured black olives
Extra-virgin olive oil

To make the beet and onion pickles: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Put the beets in a roasting pan, add just enough water to the pan to evenly cover the bottom. Salt the beets with 1 tablespoon of salt and drizzle them with olive oil. Cover with foil and roast for about an hour, until they're tender when pierced with a knife. Let them cool, then peel the beets- the skins should come off easily with your fingers or a paring knife.  Cut them into 1/4-inch slices and put them in a large heatproof bowl.  Thinly slice the onions and add to bowl with the beets.

In a saucepan, combine the red wine vinegar, water, sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, plus the peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard, anise, and allspice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the brine over the beets and onions, then let them cool at room temperature. Transfer them to a plastic or glass container, cover them, and refrigerate for at least a day. They'll last up to 2 months.

To make the carrot pickles: Place the sliced carrots in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, kosher salt, coriander, fennel, and the chiles. Boil, stir, and pour over the carrots. Cool them, then store in the fridge for at least a day, and up to 2 months.

When you're ready to make your sandwiches, grab about a cup of carrot pickles, and about 2 cups of the beet-onion pickles. Flick off any spices that cling, then thinly slice the beets and carrots into matchstick strips. Toss your pickles with the herbs, radishes, capers, and olives, and add a drizzle of oil to hold everything together.

To assemble the sandwiches:
1 focaccia  (see recipe below)
Chipotle Mayonnaise (see recipe below)
8 to 10 eggs
8 to 10 ounces feta, sliced

Boil your eggs: Add eggs to cold water in a pan, bring to a boil, cover and turn off the heat.  Let stand for about 10-12 minutes. Transfer immediately to an ice bath, let them cool, then peel them and slice them thinly.
To assemble your sandwiches
Slice the focaccia into sandwich-sized pieces. For each sandwich, smear one slice of bread with about a tablespoon of chipotle mayonnaise, then layer on a sliced egg and a slice of feta. Top with a handful of that pickled vegetable salad. Cover it all with the second piece of bread, and serve immediately.


Makes one 18 x 13-inch pan, or enough for 8 to 10 sandwiches

6 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 ½ cups warm water
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
Coarse sea salt

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the warm water to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated and a sticky dough forms -- no kneading required. Pour the 1/4 cup olive oil into a 6-quart plastic food container with a tight-fitting lid (or a large bowl). Transfer the focaccia dough to the plastic container, turn to coat, and cover tightly. (If you're using a bowl, wrap tightly and thoroughly in plastic wrap, making sure there's plenty of room in the bowl for the dough to rise.) Place in the refrigerator to rise for at least 8 hours or for up to 2 days.

When you're ready to bake -- I've found that a 2-day rise is best, but 1 will work just fine -- oil an 18 x 13-inch baking sheet. Remove the focaccia dough from the refrigerator and transfer to the prepared pan. Using your hands, spread the dough out on the prepared pan as much as possible, and adding oil to the dough as needed to keep it from sticking. Place the dough in a warm place and let it rise until it about doubles in bulk.  The rising time will vary considerably depending on the season. (In the summer, it might take just 20 minutes; in winter, it can take an hour or more.) When the dough is ready, it should be room temperature, spread out on the sheet, and fluffy feeling.

Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Pat down the focaccia to an even thickness of about 1 inch on the baking sheet, and then make a bunch of indentations in the dough with your fingertips -- like you're playing chords on a piano. Dimple the entire dough and then drizzle the whole thing again with olive oil. Sprinkle the entire surface of the focaccia evenly with sea salt.

Bake, rotating once front to back, until the top is uniformly golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then slide out of the pan. Use the same day.

Chipotle Mayonnaise

1 cup of mayonnaise (or vegenaise if desired)
3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (they come canned)
1 Tbls lemon juice

Place all items into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Use like mayonnaise.

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