Roasted Eggplant and Spinach Muffuletta Sandwich

Make one big loaf of sandwich that serves 4

1 smallish eggplant (less than 1 lb)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 C fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
2 roasted red or yellow peppers, from a jar or homemade
1 9- to 10-inch round peasant-style loaf (about 1-1 ½ lbs)

OLIVE RELISH:
1 C pitted kalamata olives
1 C green olives
½ C coarsely chopped Italian parsley
4 cloves garlic
½ C sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed or dried and reconstituted
4 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp basil
½ C olive oil

Cut the eggplant into ¼-inch slices and rub each slice with kosher salt. Allow to drain in a colander for half an hour.

Food process-pulse all ingredients for olive relish – the idea is not to get a paste, but a chunky mixture. Place spinach leaves in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tbsp red wine vinegar.

Rinse the salted slices of eggplant with cold water, then rub with olive oil and lay in a greased rimmed baking sheet (some overlapping is ok). Bake at 375* for 20-22 minutes, flipping once midway through, until the eggplant is browned and tender. Immediately place the hot eggplant slices on top of the spinach to slightly wilt the leaves.

To assemble sandwich: Cut the loaf in half “Oreo-style” (top and bottom pieces) remove some sammy guts from both sides to create two bread-bowl shapes. FYI These innards are excellent for dipping into extra olive relish. Spread the olive relish quite thickly on both slabs of bread, making sure to get all the oil and juices onto the bread as well. Layer the bottom piece of bread with eggplant, spinach, roasted peppers, more eggplant and top with the last of the spinach. Replace the top of the loaf and press hard to smoosh it. Don’t be agreed – go ahead and use all your body weight. Wrap tightly in foil, then again in a couple large plastic bags. Place in the fridge for at least three hours to marinate flavors. To serve, slice in half, then slice in half again, creating an X of four wedges.

Leftover olive relish is dynamite on pizza!

Credit: Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

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