Having a baby and not wanting to cook came hand in hand. There were many things that I wanted to do in the little time I had when I wasn't carrying my child like, and I say this in all seriousness, showering. It took me a while to get back into it away from the cooking I had to get done for work every single day.
We were faced with an issue at home. Do we really want to eat what I cooked for work? Do we just order in or do we find that little reserve of energy we had left to actually throw something together in less than a half hour? In the first year of our child's life, I don't think we really enjoyed any food. It was all for survival. We ate late, we ate crap but we ate.
Things slowly started coming together. I started showering more often. I began looking less sallow. My cooking for work became routine and we started cooking things we wanted to eat; and it all began with soups, salads and sandwiches. Endless combinations, fulfilling flavors. Quick to eat and fun to make. Next time you find yourself in a rut, make a sandwich. This recipe was developed for Frico.
Rustic Eggplant, Salami & Gouda Sandwich
2 slices of gouda cheese
6 slices of eggplant
3 cloves of garlic
4 slices of salami
4 large button mushrooms, sliced
4-6 fresh mint leaves
1 cup of deseeded Kalamata olives
1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
A handful of rocket leaves
1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 thick slices of bread
1/4 cup of olive oil
Black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
Blend the Kalamata olives with garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil until smooth then set aside.
Heat a frying pan then pour in the olive oil. Pan-fry the slices of eggplant after seasoning with salt and black pepper until golden on both sides. Remove from the oil then sauté the mushrooms in the same pan, seasoning with salt and black pepper.
Toast the bread then coat with a thick layer of the prepared olive tapenade. Add the rocket leaves, slices of gouda, fried eggplant, salami and sautéed mushrooms. Top with mint leaves and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve.
Note: this can also be assembled and toasted in a panini press.