Sweet Onion Sandwiches from the Fall

I am a fan of flat breads and pizzas that have sweetened, cooked onions on their base. It adds this mellow, lightly sweet taste to the dish which can then be complemented by a large variety of meats, vegetables and cheeses on the flat bread/pizza.

Two of my favorite places in CT are Arugula in West Hartford (great flatbread) and Fat Cat Pie‘s (Norwalk) caramelized onion topping on their delicious thing crust pizzas.

Inspired by that, combined with having just picked some yellow squash and zucchinis from a nearby farm, I decided to make some sandwiches which would be very Fall-inspired, warm and showcase the vegetables. We had some fresh ciabatta from the very good, local (!) Chabaso bakery: in fact, I was pretty pleased to note most of this dish was pretty local!

Here’s what I used this time around:

  • 1 loaf whole wheat ciabatta, sliced
  • Gruyere, sliced
  • 2 large onions, chopped to get long strands
  • Cream sherry
  • Brown Sugar
  • 2 small – medium zucchinis, chopped into thin slices
  • 2 small – medium yellow squashes, chopped into thin slices
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Basil leaves
  • Rosemary

Here is what I did:

  • Prepare the butter nut squash


  1. Split the butternut squash into half (along the length) and scoop out the seeds
  2. Smear each open face with 1/2 tablespoon butter, sprinkle brown sugar generously on each face and then season with salt and the freshly ground pepper.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 400F and roast the two halves face up for 30 minutes or until it has softened (You should be able to pierce easily with a fork)
  4. Take it out of the oven, and carefully (It’s going to be hot!) peel off the skin.
  5. Chop into slices that you can use on top of the sandwiches
  6. After you take the butternut squash of the over, lower the heat in it to 250F – we’ll use it for preparing the sandwiches (last step)

Note: one can also add garlic – but since this time I knew I was going to make open face sandwiches, I did not want garlic.

  • Prepare the onions: you can start this while the butternut squash is roasting in the oven

  1. Saute the onion ‘strips’ in the olive oil on high heat and then on low heat.
  2. As the onions start turning translucent, add sherry and cook slowly on low heat. Keep stirring
  3. Taste once a while, and add brown sugar and stir it in if you’d like to make it sweeter.
  4. At the end, you should be left with slightly browned, soft, translucent onion strips in a thickened sherry sauce (Not too thick)
  • Saute the squash and zucchini

  • Prepare the sandwiches:
  1. Lightly butter one side of the sliced ciabatta bread
  2. Top with onions, and add a little of the remaining sherry-sauce on top (Not too much, it will soak the bread!)
  3. Sprinkle rosemary and if you like, some freshly ground black pepper
  4. Add the sliced cheese
  5. Put this in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the bread has toasted
  6. Take the slices out of the oven, reduce the heat to 175F
  7. Top the slices with the basil leaves and your choice of topping: sliced cherry tomatoes, sauteed squash or sliced, roasted butternut squash
  8. Return to the oven for a few more minutes to keep warm

Serve immediately!

Note to self: I have to figure out a way to perhaps cook the butternut squash a bit more. Sarandipitea’s mother suggested broiling the sandwiches in the last step (after adding the vegetable topping, rather than using the oven at 250F). I could have also sauteed the butternut squash lightly  (Although I can see that can be messy!)

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Soundari says:

    Yummy!!! Make some for me 🙂

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