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.

Number 1 in my book

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.

GrubGrade: 8.00/10.00

Your Turn: Do you ever make your own condiments, or do you prefer to buy your sandwich boosters?

10 comments on “Sandwich Sunday: Caprese with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

  1. Robby says:

    Other than the favorite ketchup and mustard blend for my corn dogs, I always buy my own condiments. Doesn’t get better than Heinz.

  2. ChrisLad says:

    Good post. I’ve not bought into the aioli fad. Like you said it just seems like a way to introduce something fancy and add price. Also people know mayo is unhealthy but aioli doesn’t have the same negative association.

    I buy all my condiments. I figure it’d be a lot of work to make them and they might not even be any better.

  3. Luis says:

    Looks good!

  4. Jessica J says:

    This sandwich looks DELICIOUS! It has inspired me to make a sandwich for lunch today just like this, except I don’t have access to that delicious bread! I will have to use toasted sourdough, and I think I’ll add my homegrown lettuce instead of spinach! Thanks for the great ideas!

  5. Im too lazy to make my own condiments, so always buy. That sandwich looks really healthy

  6. Francois says:

    Technically, aioli and mayonnaise are two different things. The former traditionally didn’t use an egg as an emulsifier but rather garlic. It’s of course much easier to use an egg yolk as an emulsifier to bind the oil and water (read: mayonnaise), so it’s much more common these days for aioli as well. The only real difference in restaurants that I’ve seen is that they use “aioli” to mean something like “strongly garlic-flavored mayonnaise”. I’ve seen a few traditional aiolis here and there, though.

    This so-called “fad” has never really bothered me, unlike the brioche or ciabatta “hamburger bun” fad in fancy burger joints.

  7. lisa g. says:

    fresh is always best.
    homemade mayonnaise is best, but who has time.

    i am not sure i would want to destroy a sun-dried tomato with mayo…seems like a crime…maybe that is the italian in me. I do not have a problem putting chipotle in adobo in mayo….now that is gooood!

    a favorite is that red hamburger relish..is it just ketchup and pickles?

  8. Raiders757 says:

    I like to make my own vinaigrette and salad dressings. They blow the store bought stuff away and taste great on sandwiches.

  9. Randy says:

    Buy the condiments due to lack of power tools (blender or food processor). New to my fridge door is Sweet Baby Rays Creamy Buffalo Wing dipping sauce and sandwich spread. As Sukway has shown us, if you sauce it enough, its all good. Found at the local Y’alMart. Great on hamburgers too. Mmm good.

  10. Kyle says:

    Sandwich looks delicious! I thought I was the only one that was in love with Einstein Brothers sun dried tomato cream cheese hah.

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