Sandwich Sunday: Caprese with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli
Sandwich Sunday returns today after taking a week long hiatus, with the focus of this week’s creation on developing flavor through condiments. And what is more “in” in the condiment universe right now than aiolis?
Admittedly, I don’t buy into the aioli craze. I think restaurants hike up prices because of the fancy term, which we all know is just mayo mixed with some other ingredient anyways. Given the relative caloric bomb of most of these, it takes more than fancy buzz words to get me interested in not passing on whatever special aioli is being offered. Besides, I’m a ketchup junkie anyway.
That being said, I recently ran across a cool recipe for a Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli. Given my complete and utter fascination with Einstein Brothers’ Sun-Dried Tomato cream cheese spread, I figured I’d give this a try, especially considering that I had some fresh basil, spinach and mozzarella cheese on hand. That’s right, I’m talking your classic Italian Caprese with a twist. Let’s get to the assembly and the results!
Description: The aioli was made from Kraft Olive Oil mayo, reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. It was a bit chunky and watery but I still spread a hefty portion on one slice of bread (Vermont Whole Wheat bread). I layered one a handful of shredded part-skin mozzarella cheese, and popped it into a toaster oven. At the same time I toasted up some red onion slices, and on the opposite slice of bread I layered another layer of the aioli. On top of that slice went fresh tomato slices, spinach leaves, and the toasted red onion. Once the cheese was melted on the opposite slice I assembled the entire sandwich and put the whole thing into the toaster oven for a few minutes. I took it out after the cheese was clearly melted, and stuffed some fresh basil amidst the melted cheese.
The Verdict: This sandwich was quite good, and really benefited from the strong flavor of the aioli and the freshness of the herbs (homegrown, of course). I am a big fan of Vermont bread, and admired the ability of the slices to withstand the slightly watered down aioli, as well as hold their nutty flavor through the toasting process. The flavor of the bread didn’t match the flavor profile of the Caprese however, and despite the fresh, cool flavor of the basil and spinach there seemed to be a conflict between the garlicy sweetness of the aioli and the saltiness of the cheese. A good sandwich in all, but not the best I’ve ever made.
Your Turn: Do you ever make your own condiments, or do you prefer to buy your sandwich boosters?