Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Dinner Sandwich with Kale, Gouda, and Roasted Sweet Potato

Whenever John is away on a night that I work late I end up eating a white sandwich (toasted sourdough bread, mayonnaise, sharp cheddar cheese, that's it) for dinner. Not only do I love a cheese sandwich, but I also don't really cook for myself. Cook is something I do for other people. But he's going to be away more on these late evenings, so I came up with the Dinner Sandwich. It's a variation on something I made when I cooked for The Essential Baking Company. If you don't have a panini press (because, really, why do I have a panini press), just make this in a frying pan with butter on the outside of the bread - like an old-fashioned grilled cheese.

The Dinner Sandwich
serves 4, but I used the leftovers for other meals

1 red garnet yam (which is really a sweet potato)
1 bunch of kale (or spinach or chard)
1 head of garlic
4 slices Gouda
2 slices of good, hearty bread
olive oil, salt, and pepper
sliced turkey - very optional
  • Peel the sweet potato and slice into thin coins. This will make more than you need, but it's great as a snack, on another sandwich tomorrow, or cut up and sprinkled on a salad.
  • Toss the sweet potato slices in olive oil and salt and pepper and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Cut the top off of the garlic head and set on top of a square of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and close up the foil so the garlic is sealed in a little bag. Put this in the oven under the sweet potatoes and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. The cloves will be browned and soft. You can just squeeze them out of the papery skin and use as a spread.
  • Drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil into a frying pan on medium high heat. Rinse the kale and shake off the water (but don't worry about getting it dry). Tear pieces of the leaves off the woody stem and drop them right into the pan.
  • Stir the torn kale getting it all coated in the oil for about 5 minutes. Put the lid on and let it wilt for about five minutes more (you can skip this if you're using spinach or chard). You're going for cooked, but not mush.
  • You can either refrigerate everything now and use it cold later, or go right on to assembling the sandwich.
  • The main trick to great paninis (or grilled cheese) is to be sure that the cheese is the thing touching both sides of the bread. So for this sandwich I built it in this order: bread, cheese, roasted garlic squished around, sweet potato slices, kale, turkey, a little more garlic, cheese, bread again. 
  • Get it all toasty and melty and you're done. You don't even need a side dish!
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