Nuno Mendes’ aubergine and courgette piso rolls are a bite of Portugese culture, wrapped up in a fluffy sweet potato roll
“You don’t find many vegetarian sandwiches in Portugal, so I’ve come up with my own using aubergine, courgette and piso, and it’s a stunner.
You can adapt it according to the seasons, using leafy greens such as chard or kale, tomatoes, grilled onions, field or wild mushrooms, or even celeriac, marinating the vegetables overnight, if you like, with olive oil and seasoning.
The cheese can be varied too; I usually use Portuguese queijo da Ilha, Gruyère or Parmesan. A dash of piri piri oil would be a welcome addition.”
For the piso:
• 1/2 garlic clove, crushed
• a handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
• 1/2 lemon and freshly squeezed juice to taste, Finely grated zested, (optional)
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• sea salt flakes
• ground white pepper
For the sandwich:
• 1 small aubergine, cut into diagonal rounds
• 1 courgette, cut into diagonal rounds
• 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
• 2 Sweet potato rolls, sweet potato rolls or other soft bread rolls
• 30g full-flavoured hard cheese, shaved, such as queijo da Ilha, Gruyère or Parmesan
• Garlic and turnip green rice with piri piri oil, Piri piri oil, to serve (optional)
• sea salt
• cracked black pepper
1 To make the piso — Pound the garlic, parsley and lemon zest with a generous pinch of salt and white pepper and a little of the oil in a pestle and mortar.
(You could also chop the herbs and garlic by hand or use a food processor.)
2 Stir in the rest of the oil. If you want more acidity, add a little lemon juice to taste, just before serving.
3 To make the sandwich — Brush the aubergine and courgette with the olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. If you have time, leave it to marinate for 1–2 hours.
4 Heat a ridged grill pan over a medium heat. Add the aubergine and courgette and cook for 4 minutes on each side, in batches if necessary.
5 Remove the vegetables from the pan and drizzle with some more olive oil. Cut the rolls in half and toast, cut-side down, in the same pan until golden brown.
6 Spread a generous amount of piso on each slice of bread, then build the sandwich with alternating layers of vegetables and cheese.
7 Finish with an extra drizzle of piso, and piri piri oil if you like.
Recipe courtesy of Nuno Mendes, extracted from Lisboeta.