Sunday, December 30, 2012

Emeril's New Style Caldo Verde, #SundaySupper

Emeril's New Style Caldo Verde. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Despite slick magazine menus, or maybe in spite of them, we stick to simple fare during the holidays - soups, sandwiches and one-pot meals. For the few weeks that school is out, supper can be a leisurely event, prepared early in the afternoon and left to simmer away on the stove. Or, in the case of sandwiches, the proper ingredients purchased and prepared and ready for up-to-the-minute assembly.

Soup and sandwiches together, of course, doubles the convenience. Grilled cheese with homemade tomato soup, ham sandwiches with bean soup. Add to these great combos caldo verde and muffuletta.
I found this caldo verde recipe on Emeril's website back in October when I was gearing up for the #SeriousSandwich blogalong for "Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches." And now in the bleak mid-winter, it seems even more appropriate. Caldo verde is a Portuguese soup made with sausage, greens and potatoes, real stick-to-your ribs stuff guaranteed to warm your chilled bones through and through.

And the perfect partner for the soup has to be a muffuletta, the semi-official sandwich of Emeril's adopted home, New Orleans. I love this vegetarian take on the muffuletta, using meaty eggplant slices to sub for the sandwich meat. The homemade olive salad recipe included in the cookbook , Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches, is killer.
Caldo verde and eggplant muffuletta. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Eggplant Muffuletta
4 sandwiches
This is no ordinary muffuletta. Made with oven-roasted eggplant slices instead of salami, a homemade New Orleans–style olive salad, and a fresh basil spread, this muffuletta tastes so good you’ll never even miss the meat! If you aren’t up to making the olive salad yourself, it’ll still be enjoyable with one from the store.
2 medium eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1/2 -inch-thick rounds
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf seeded Italian bread
Basil Spread (page 318)
2 cups New Orleans–Style Olive Salad (see note above, store-bought is fine)
4 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
4 ounces sliced provolone cheese
1. Position an oven rack as close to the broiler unit as possible, and preheat the broiler.
2. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on two lightly greased baking sheets. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush both sides of the slices with the olive oil. Season both sides with the salt and pepper. Broil the eggplant, in batches, until the slices are tender and lightly browned and have released most of their moisture, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep warm.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and move the oven rack to the center position.
4. When you are ready to assemble the sandwiches, slice the loaf of bread in half horizontally. Using a pastry brush, spread the bottom half with a generous amount of Basil Spread.
5. Spread the olive salad (with its olive oil—do not strain) over the top half of the loaf. Layer the sliced mozzarella and provolone on top of the olive salad, and then layer the slices of eggplant. Place the bottom half of the sandwich on top and lightly press. Quickly and carefully turn the loaf over so that the olive salad side is on top.
6. Place the muffuletta on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake until the cheese has melted, the muffuletta is heated through, and the bread is slightly crisp, about 12 minutes.
7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully transfer the loaf to a cutting board. Press lightly, and cut the loaf into 4 sections. Serve immediately.
Basil Spread
About 1/2 cup
This basil spread is multifunctional. You can add it to store-bought mayonnaise, toss it with pasta, turn it into a vinaigrette, or add it to vegetable soups. And of course, it’s fantastic on sandwiches.
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a food processor or blender, process the garlic and basil on high speed while adding the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Continue to process until well blended. Season with the salt. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
This post is part of #SundaySupper, a weekly Twitter party encouraging families to cook and eat together. Follow hashtag #SundaySupper to read more stories of family friendly fare. This week's subject is a New Year's Potluck with Emeril Lagasse. 25 bloggers will give away copies on Emeril's cookbooks, so get thee over to Twitter, hashtag #SundaySupper, and win yourself a cookbook!
Text and images copyright 2012, Lucy Mercer.

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