Here is a sandwich with a difference: a whole bloomer scooped out and filled with grilled vegetables and mozzarella for slicing and sharing.
Grilling the vegetables softens the flesh and intensifies their flavour. You can, of course, vary the vegetables as you like – just make sure you grill them until they have an intense roasted flavour. Perfect for a picnic or summer lunch, you make this tasty sandwich loaf the evening before.
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Heat the grill to high. Quarter, core and deseed the peppers. Cut the courgettes and aubergines lengthways into 5–7mm thick slices. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl, toss with half the oil and season with salt and pepper. You will need to grill them in batches. Lay in a single layer on a large baking tray (peppers skin side up) and grill until softened and slightly charred, turning the courgettes and aubergines as they brown.
Cut the loaf horizontally in two, just below the score marks. Scoop out the soft bread from the centre, leaving a 2–3cm shell. Blitz half the bread to crumbs in a food processor or blender. (Use the rest for breadcrumbs or croûtons.)
Put the grilled peppers, courgettes and aubergines into separate bowls and divide the breadcrumbs between them. For the dressing, in a bowl, whisk the remaining oil with the vinegar, garlic and any juices from the baking tray. Divide the dressing between the vegetables, season again and toss each bowlful to mix everything together. Leave to stand for an hour to allow the vegetables and breadcrumbs to soak up the dressing.
Slice the mozzarella into rounds and pat dry with kitchen paper. Spread the pesto over the cut surfaces of the loaf. Layer up the filling ingredients on the base: start with mozzarella, add a layer of each grilled vegetable, scattering a little torn basil in between, and finish with mozzarella. Top with the bloomer lid, wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Unwrap the picnic loaf and cut into thick slices to serve.
This recipe is from the cookbook Paul Hollywood’s Bread
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