Saturday, March 6, 2010

Eating Morocco

*SPOILER ALERT* This recipe isn't for you if you don't like carrots!

A vegetable sandwich is decidedly different from a vegetarian sandwich. A vegetable sandwich is what I would define as a sandwich filled only with vegetables — no mock “meats”, no tofu. Just vegetables and your choice of spread(s).

This was a challenge I gave myself. It wasn’t easy coming up with one that  I would like since I don’t fancy raw vegetables. Something like a green salad sandwich (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onions, peppers and several other RAW green) would not cut it. No way.

And so my quest began. I looked at many websites, blogsites and read through several cookbooks. And along the way, I came upon a recipe for Moroccan Carrot and Goats Cheese sandwich with green olive tepenade. I've always wanted to go to Morocco, so maybe this is a sign. You think?

Now goat cheese is really an indulgence I can only afford it every now and then. Cheese in Malaysia is just terribly expensive! So I had a good look at the recipe for the Morrocan sandwich and played with it a little, finding substitutes here and there. It took a couple of attempts before I was satisfied with my adaptation of the original which is on by the way.

I used some of the same spices (cumin, cinnamon, paprika) to marinade my carrots but instead of chilling the marinated carrot, I toasted them in a little butter and then caramelised them.

You can either slice the carrots (2mm) thinly using a madoline or shred them into little orange matchstick-like pieces. (If you don’t quite fancy carrots in your sandwich, eating a pile of sliced carrots may be a turn off).

Instead of goat cheese, I chose to use mozzerella/cheddar: either melt a slice of mozzerella over both slices of bread or shred some hard cheddar and mix them up with the shredded carrots — the different shade of orange are quite pretty.

Now the tepenade. I don’t eat anchovies, obviously, but I liked the idea of using olives and so I made some hummus and added some finely chopped some black olives to the hummus as a spread for the sandwich.

I added an extra layer. I had some leftover pesto from a dish I made a couple of days ago that I thought would go with the rest of the ingredients. It did! Yay.

I tried this out on a couple of friends and got different reactions. Everyone liked the hummus spread and the pesto. And the cheese? Well, who doesn’t like cheese. But opinions were divided on the carrots. Some loved it, some thought it overpowered the sandwich — especially when sliced.

Replace the carrots, they say.

How can? I say. Cos then it would no longer be a Moroccon carrot sandwich!

So, once again, if you don't like em carrots, look away.

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