Roasted Broccoli Sandwich

I eat broccoli 4 or 5 times a week.  It is one of my favorite vegetables, and I love it as a side, snack, or in this case, as the star of my sandwich recipe.

If you know me well,  you know that I love broccoli and look for innovative ways to include it in recipes.  Here’s an idea – how about a broccoli sandwich!  The list of ingredients (below) suggests that this could be called a ham sandwich with broccoli.  It’s not, especially if you make your sandwich the same way that I do.  Pile the broccoli high so that the ham becomes a supporting actor.  If you like broccoli and cheese – or ham and cheese, for that matter – you definitely will add this sandwich to your go-to list for fast and flavorful meals. 

Ingredients (makes 4 sandwiches with leftover ham)

2 fully cooked ham steaks, 1 pound in total
12 slices of Double Gloucester or sharp cheddar cheese
1 large bunch of broccoli
4 standard size hamburger or sandwich buns
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Non-stick aluminum foil

All parts of this sandwich can be prepared in advance, held in the fridge, and assembled approximately 30 minutes before serving.

Step 1 – Roast the broccoli.  Roasted broccoli is crunchy and nutty.  It gives a bite to an otherwise soft sandwich, so don’t skip this step!  

Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees.  Wash the broccoli and cut the florets into small bites.  Remember, this is going on a sandwich!  Small bites.  A little bit of stem is fine – it adds to the crunch.  Toss the broccoli with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper.  Spread the broccoli evenly on a baking sheet (line with non-stick foil to make clean-up easy).  When the oven is at temperature, roast the broccoli for 15 minutes or until it starts to brown.  Test a bite.  You’re looking for a baked crunch that has a beautiful nutty broccoli taste.  If assembling later, let cool on the counter and then store in the fridge.

Step 2 – Prep the ham.  The ham is already cooked.  You can use it as is, or you can make it better.  Take the ham out of its package and thoroughly rinse it under cold water, and pat it dry.  Next, take one of your sandwich buns and use it as the guide for sizing the ham for the sandwich.  Take a bottom half of a bun, put it on a paper towel or piece of wax paper, and draw a circle around it.  Cut out the circle, and use the template to cut circles from the ham, so that they are the same size as the bottom bun (or just slightly bigger).

Once your ham circles are cut, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet, and over medium heat, let the ham toast a bit.  Look for lightly browned surfaces.  Remove the ham and set aside (can be refrigerated if assembling later).

Each sandwich will have 3 slices of cheese.

To make your sandwiches, heat the oven to 200 F degrees.  Put 1 and a half slices of cheese on the bottom of the bun, then a ham circle, then a generous heap of broccoli, then another 1 and a half slices of cheese, and the bun topper.  Wrap each sandwich individually in non-stick foil and put on a sheet tray in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes. 

The result is a deliciously warm and cheesy sandwich that is as much or more vegetable as it is ham.  The roasted broccoli keeps its crunch.  The ham adds heft and a touch of salt.  The bun stays soft and catches all of the melted cheese.  This is a really good sandwich. Try it!

Please note:  Go all broccoli and cheese for a vegetarian option.  If you don’t like ham, or can’t eat it for dietary or religious reasons, substitute turkey or roast beef.  As long as you make the broccoli the star, you’re guaranteed a great sandwich.

​May 26, 2016