Everyone loves eating Grilled Sandwiches and Paninis, but ever heard of a Grilled Asparagus & Pesto sandwich?? probably not – it may sound hard to imagine, but just for a minute, close your eyes and imagine this – fresh green Asparagus, grilled with butter, Parmesan cheese and some sea salt, then paired with Tomatoes & Lettuce, all neatly layered on a grilled Sourdough bread, and covered with melted Mozarella cheese; does this vision scintillate your taste buds or not!
The original recipe and photo comes from Mandy of Fresh From the Oven, and called for steamed asparagus, smoked Salmon and Provolone cheese. But I love the taste of grilled Asparagus, so I modified the recipe to suit my taste, and of course, made it Vegetarian. This can also serve to be perfect for BBQ parties (think Memorial Day), or picnic baskets.
This recipe is a great twist o a classic deli-style sandwich recipe, and a great way to enjoy Asparagus! This could very well be a recipe on any Sandwich Deli Menu, and I’m sure people would love the taste. And if the idea of a simple Vegetarian Sandwich does not appeal to you so much, you can always add in a layer of your favorite meat to make it suitable to your palate. But before we get into discussing the possible variations, let’s at least take a look at the basic recipe!
Grilled Asparagus & Pesto Open Panini
5-6 asparagus spears (about a pound)
1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
3 tbsp fat-free mayonnaise
2 tbsp Basil pesto
2 slices sourdough bread, toasted
** use 4 slices for a regular panini sandwich
2 tomatoes, sliced
a layer of fresh lettuce
2 thick slices Mozarella cheese
a sprinkle of salt
Grilling the Asparagus
Snap off tough ends of asparagus. Preheat your grill. Melt the butter and mix it with olive oil. Place asparagus on a plate. Drizzle oil/butter combination over the asparagus and turn spears until they are coated. Sprinkle with salt and turn again.
Grill asparagus for 5 minutes over a hot grill. Each minute or so, roll each spear 1/4 turn. Asparagus should begin to brown in spots (indicating that the natural sugars are caramelizing) but should not be allowed to char.
Making the Sandwich
Combine mayonnaise and pesto in a bowl, and stir with a whisk. Spread a thin layer of pesto mixture onto 1 side of each bread slice. Layer each slice with asparagus spears, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, one slice of lettuce, 1 slice of tomato and 1 slice of Mozarella cheese. Then grill the sandwich on a hot Grill, or you can use a regular Oven to bake the sandwich until the cheese melts.
Serve the Asparagus & Pesto Sandwich immediately, with a side of fries or salad.
As I said, this is a great Sandwich recipe to dish up something quick and tasty to a bunch of friends when entertaining. You can use different kinds of Breads to enhance the flavor. Breads with herbs like thyme, rosemary or parsley could add significant bit of flavor instead of the Sourdough bread.
1. Use Roasted Red Pepper Hummus instead of Pesto for the spread.
2. You can even roast the Asparagus instead of grilling it for a quicker version.
3. For an Indian-ised version, replace the Pesto with Green Chutney spread
4. Adding a tbsp of Tomato ketchup to the pesto-mayonnaise base can be great too