This time of year I love to roast vegetables. If I am not making Brussels Sprouts and Bacon, I am making deeply caramelized broccoli and cauliflower.
There’s nothing like roasted broccoli and cauliflower where the tips of the florets are crispy and crunchy and full of flavor. They are so addicting when they’re fresh and hot that it’s almost like eating popcorn. But once they’ve cooled, and you’ve put any extra in the refrigerator, it’s hard to come up with something equally delectable to do with the leftover roasted veggies. I used to make a frittata with the leftover veggies and then I discovered something so much easier, and more satisfying.
Say hello to the roasted veggie melt—think tuna melt, but with veggies. It makes an easy dinner that taste like a treat, and it’s meatless to boot. It’s also easy to customize to suit any particular taste. I love using a hearty white country loaf or Tuscan loaf but any kind of bread and even an English muffin would be delicious. Whatever bread you choose, I recommend toasting it for a few minutes to make the bread a little sturdier.
Next, add a spread, I like to use half mayo and half mustard—any mustard works as long as you love it. You could also use Thousand Island dressing, Pesto, Tapenade, etc., anything that will add some flavor and dress the bread. Now, you are ready to add the cold roasted vegetables. They should be very soft and easy to “smush” to fit on the lightly toasted bread. Sprinkle liberally with dried Calabrian crushed chilies. This adds a little extra seasoning to the roasted veggies. If you’ve already seasoned your veggies with chilies before you roasted them, you can skip this step.
Finally, I drape the veggies with two slices of melting cheese for each open-faced sandwich. The cheese is customizable too, use the cheese that you love. I made broccoli and cauliflower melts a few days ago, and I used Swiss cheese for the broccoli and Munster cheese for the cauliflower. They were both excellent. Cheddar cheese is also a classic pairing with broccoli and that works as well. Any cheese that melts into ooey-gooey-ness will work.
If you want to gild the lily, you can spread the bottom of the bread with Boursin, goat cheese or another soft cheese, add a couple of slices of bacon or prosciutto, add your veggies and melting cheese and enjoy!
Roasted Veggie Melts
Makes 2 open face sandwiches
Leftover roasted vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, about 5-10 florets depending on size
2 slices country bread, pumpernickel, ciabatta, etc.
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard such as Dijon, German mustard, etc.
Dried Crushed Calabrian Chilies
4 slices cheese such as Swiss, Munster, Cheddar, Havarti, etc
Toast bread lightly in a toaster or toaster oven. Let cool.
Mix mayonnaise and mustard together and spread on one side of the bread. Layer the vegetables over the mayo-mustard mixture and sprinkle with Calabrian chilies.
Drape the vegetables with the slices of cheese. The cheese will overlap in the center of the sandwich.
Bake at 325°F in a toaster oven or a regular oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the vegetable are warm. Slice open face sandwich into 5-6 strips or serve with a knife and fork.