Since we’re on the topic of delicious sweet peppers (last week’s blog), I simply had to blog my favorite sandwich of all-time. I don’t even know where to start with this “love of my life” sandwich. It all began when I was a young girl, maybe eight years old or so. In the summer, my family would take day trips to the beach town of Deal, New Jersey. There was (and still is) a lovely, large beach there with cabanas to change in, and a pavilion where you could buy food, or tables where you could sit and eat whatever picnic lunch you might have brought. We spent many Saturdays and Sundays here with aunts, uncles and cousins. As kids, we’d swim for hours, swing on swings, and anticipate the wonderful lunch that my mom had packed.
My mom would get up at 5:00 AM to make peppers and eggs sandwiches on hard rolls, as well as eggplant parmigiana sandwiches. You could smell the peppers cooking and the eggplant heating in the oven, the moment you woke up. I’m not sure what excited me more, the anticipation of the beach or these mouth watering sandwiches. She’d wrap each sandwich in aluminum foil and put them in a large wicker picnic basket, and off we’d go. Whether the picnic basket was in the trunk of our De Soto or in the way, way back of the station wagon we had later on, you could smell these sandwiches for the entire one hour ride. It was intoxicating!
This truly is one of my fondest food memories from my childhood. Biting into this sandwich and having the oil drip down your chin after hours of jumping around in the ocean with my siblings and cousins, is still such a clear, image, as well as a taste I cannot forget. When I make this for myself and my family, I still feel that sense of anticipation before I take that first bite. I can still taste the sea and these fond memories abound. The sandwich delights my taste buds every time, and the oil still dribbles down my chin, but I’m afraid it will never taste the way it did then. How can it?
RECIPE: makes 3 to 4 sandwiches
1 lb of small sweet peppers, or 3 to 4 bell peppers or fryers
2 cloves of garlic, halved
4 TBSP olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1/4 cup grated Italian cheese ( parmigiana or pecorino romano)
salt and pepper to taste
the best Italian rolls you can find
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Put peppers on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. * See note for using bell peppers.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Cut peppers into strips, removing the seeds.
- Beat the eggs with a fork or whisk. Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat the 4 TBSP of oil and the garlic in a fry pan. After a few minutes, add the peppers and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Remove the garlic and add the egg mixture. Scramble as desired.
*NOTE: If using bell peppers, cut them into wide strips after removing the seeds. Put the oil in a fry pan and add the peppers, garlic and salt. Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes, checking and stirring often, until soft. Remove the garlic and then add the egg mixture. I have never tried to put the bell peppers in the oven. It might work fine.
**NOTE:You can find the recipe for eggplant parmigiana in the archives of this blog. Put it on an Italian roll, and heaven awaits!