Cristina Ferrare's Grilled Vegetable and Goat Cheese Sandwiches



6 to 8 servings
1 bunch asparagus (about 12 to 14 stalks), rinsed and bottoms snapped off 2 zucchini, sliced on a diagonal ¼-inch thick 4 Japanese eggplant, sliced on a diagonal into ¼-inch thick pieces 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into quarters 1 large yellow or red onion, peeled and sliced into round ¼-inch pieces 2 Cups arugula 8 oz. goat cheese 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Reduced Balsamic Syrup (see recipe below) Kosher salt Herbs of choice Ciabatta bread Fresh oregano, for garnish

Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill pan until hot. Brush the vegetables with olive oil all over using a pastry brush (you can use any combination of vegetables you like). Add the vegetables to the hot grill in batches and keep an eye on them, since some veggies grill up quicker than others. Arrange the grilled vegetables on bread and drizzle extra virgin olive oil and reduced balsamic syrup over the top. Add the arugula and goat cheese. Finish with a sprinkle of French or kosher salt and fresh oregano. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice ½ teaspoon cumin ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. This vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2 days. REDUCED BALSAMIC SYRUP:
(makes ½ Cup)
1 (16.9 fluid ounce) bottle balsamic vinegar
Pour the whole bottle into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium-high and continue to boil until the vinegar starts to thicken and forms a syrup-like consistency, about 15-20 minutes. Be careful not to thicken too much or you will end up with a thick black goop. To test, use a wooden spoon: if the syrup coats the back of the spoon, it is ready to remove from the heat. Let it cool to room temperature before you store it in the refrigerator. I use a needle-nose plastic bottle to store my glaze after it has cooled. It will last up to 2 months in the refrigerator.
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