For my first post I think it is only appropriate to share one of my favorite recipes from the place where it all started – Florence. If you have ever studied abroad in Firenze you undoubtedly know about the Oil Shoppe. It is a small sandwich shop (and when I say small, it’s not much bigger than my closet) that American students line the block waiting just to get a taste.
My favorite sandwich was the Parma Ham #3. Ever since I left Italy I have been trying to recreate this sandwich. I had gotten really close, but there was always something off. I would use a baguette that was too … what’s the word … bread-y? AKA when the roof of your mouth hurts from eating so much bread/crust. And since this sandwich is loaded with so many delicious Italian ingredients, I always found it got a bit messy. So last night I decided to be adventurous and modify the recipe.
Parma Ham #3
Makes 2 sandwiches
- 2 slices of an eggplant cut vertically (about 1/2 inch thick)
- Handful of arugula leaves
- 1/2 cup parmesan shavings (a food peeler works well)
- 1/4 lbs of Prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced
- 4 medium sliced pieces of crusty French bread
- 1 cup walnuts
- Balsamic vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
Combine the cup of walnuts, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of honey in a blender. Pulse until the walnuts are well ground up, but the mixture is not completely smooth. Afterwards, heat a grill/grill pan/whatever ya got (I use a panini press). Lightly coat the eggplant and bread with olive oil. Place them on the grill for a couple of minutes on each side, or until they are lightly charred. Now assemble your sandwiches! I spread on the walnut mixture first, then put on the ingredients in this order: prosciutto, arugula, parmesan, and eggplant. To top it off, drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper.
I am a big believer in sandwiches for dinner, so I served this with a caprese salad (thanks Haley!). I usually have some left over ingredients, and last night was no different. I am going to re-use them this week to make shrimp and arugula couscous, tomato & mozzarella paninis with prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe, and this yummy eggplant mixture on top of grilled chicken (that blog is my weak spot). Of course all of these meals are best paired with some vino. Cin, cin!