While we may be a few weeks out from the official "first day of summer," I think summer may have hit the country in the past few days. I am used to the 90's, but I saw them all across the weather map this evening on the news. The whole thing was red!
When it is warmer, I try to avoid making meals in the oven, especially anything that needs to bake longer than say 20-30 minutes, so we end up grilling out quite a bit. In fact, we've been grilling a lot this year including things that wouldn't be your traditional grill fare - vegetables, bread, and even some fruit. This was a recipe that landed in my email inbox from Cuisine at Home, and I think it was the launchpad for our current grilling obsession.
I did adapt the recipe a little. We ended up using a french loaf rather than the ciabatta because the store was randomly out of ciabatta that day. Lately, I've been into making my own bread more, but with boards, it just wasn't going to happen. The french loaf worked fine, although I would like to have these again with the ciabatta - this may be my excuse to have them again soon :) My other change contradicts the oven thing a little, but I broiled the assembled sandwich for a minute or so after it was done because I wanted to help the cheese melt just a little bit more. As a side note, grilling the vegetables is pretty easy, but keep an eye on the bread. It will get toasty quickly on the grill!
We really enjoyed this dinner, and if you are like us, you'll find yourself finding new reasons to grill vegetables after having this :) Enjoy!
Pesto and Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches with Fresh Mozzarella
Adapted from Cuisine at Home
2 red bell peppers cut into quarters
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
1 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
1 red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 loaf ciabatta or french bread (16 oz), sliced in half, lengthwise
1-1/2 to 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup purchased basil pesto
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch slices
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place onions on a metal skewer so that the skewer pierces each layer; this will help keep the rings from falling apart when grilled. Brush the peppers, zucchini, squash, onion, and cut sides of the bread with olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
Grill vegetables until tender, 3-5 minutes on each side. Grill bread until toasted, 1-2 minutes on each side. Preheat the oven to broil. If desired, slice bell peppers into strips.
Spread pesto on one side of cut bread. Remove the onion from the skewers and separate into rings; place over pesto. Layer mozzarella and other vegetables over onion. Top with the remaining side of the ciabatta loaf. Broil for 1-2 minutes keeping a close eye on the bread to make sure it doesn't get too brown. Cut loaf into eight sandwich wedges.