We first came across these amazing Italian sandwiches at a fabulous bakery called Paneantico. It is only about a ½ mile from our apartment in Bay Ridge Brooklyn and before we were on a tight budget, we would stop by here from time to time to marvel at their delectable cookie spread or to have a sandwich. And when I say sandwich, I mean SANDWICH. We always shared one and that was plenty. I would highly recommend Paneantico Bakery if you ever find yourself in Bay Ridge.
However, when you are trying to pay off all your school loans sometimes this means making sacrifices. We stopped eating out. We were truly amazed by the amount we could save by making food at home. Lucky for me, Steve is a natural cook. I can get by in the kitchen but he shines. It’s just comes more naturally to him than myself. So, one day I asked if he would recreate the sandwich from Paneantico. And he did, with flying colors!
These are relatively simple sandwiches but the flavor simply explodes in your mouth. The shining star is always the eggplant caponata. We usually make it a day in advance before we make the sandwiches. We like the flavors to all meld together nicely and at the same time we also roast red peppers while we are preparing the caponata (Warning: there’s some chopping involved). This is also a great time to make the balsamic reduction. Although, we usually have a supply on hand because we use it often and it lasts well in a sealed container. It can be left at room temperature. Next, put the roasted pepper and caponata both in the fridge in sealed containers to rest overnight. The following day we just track down a great loaf of crusty bread, fresh basil, and some sliced fresh mozzarella. And BOOM, you have maybe one of the best sandwiches you’ll have all day.
- If you are making our homemade caponata, roasted peppers or balsamic reduction, do that prior.
- Cut the fresh mozzarella into ¼ inch slices or slightly thinker if you prefer.
- Slice the Italian bread in half lengthwise. Layer the cut mozzarella on the bread, followed by the red peppers and fresh basil. Next, top with the caponata. Feel free to put as little or as much as you prefer. We like to add a side of caponata on the plate as well!
- Finally, drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Enjoy!