I'm a romantic at heart so I have these swoon-worthy visions of summertime picnics. At the seaside, at sunset, or at a music performance, there's something about the perfect picnic that just makes my culinary heart pitter patter. And, yes, the vision of my perfect picnic has cold lemonade, a more adult sipper, and a great salad, but it's pretty much incomplete unless there's a sandwich like this Slow-Roasted Tomato and Cilantro-Cashew Picnic Sandwich.
There's an art to the perfect picnic sandwich -- made right, the bread soaks up the flavors and everything is perfectly marinated by the time the shindig gets swinging, as is the situation with this Slow-Roasted Tomato and Cilantro-Cashew Picnic Sandwich. I haven't dusted off the picnic basket in a good while, but I'm determined to change that up this summer and started picnicking with a vengeance on July 4th weekend.
This Slow-Roasted Tomato and Cilantro-Cashew Picnic Sandwich doesn't so much call for a technique nor does it need a recipe because, truth be told, all I did was take a few of my favorite things and slap them on bread. I slathered some Cashew-Cilantro spread on a baguette (toasted, if that's your style), topped it with those addictive Slow-Roasted tomatoes we talked about last month, and added some fresh goat cheese for zing and creaminess.
Oh, and, of course, these guys don't need to stay on sandwiches -- the combo would be just as great on crostini as an easy appetizer or rolled up into chicken for an involtini-type thing. But do me a favor and try it once as a picnic sandwich and get your fill of summertime picnics before the season passes us all by.
softened until spreadable
For the slow-roasted tomatoes: Heat an oven to 225°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Slice tomatoes in half then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the two unpeeled garlic cloves, toss to coat then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and slow roast until the tomatoes are shrunken and drier but still left with a little moisture (so a little less dry than sundried tomatoes), this can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on the size of the tomatoes.
If you're in a pinch, you can buy Slow-Roasted Tomatoes at some gourmet stores. Otherwise, make the tomatoes ahead of time and store them covered in olive oil in an airtight container. Use them in this recipe or in your next salad, on your next bagel with lox, or just snack on them while you stand in your slippers in the kitchen.
For the Cashew-Cilantro Puree: Meanwhile, turn a gas burner on medium heat and char the jalapeño, turning frequently, until blackened and slightly collapsed. Transfer the jalapeños to a cutting board to cool slightly. Once cool enough, trim off the stems from the jalapeños and remove the seeds and ribs. If you like spice, add the seeds and ribs, or taste and adjust to your liking.
Combine jalapeño, nuts, remaining olive oil, remaining garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper in food processor and process until mixture is very creamy and light white. Add cilantro and lime and pulse until just evenly combined and mixture is light green. Taste and add more salt as needed.
The puree can be made up to 2 days ahead of time -- store it refrigerated in an airtight container.
For the Picnic Sandwich: Split baguettes in half lengthwise then spread fresh goat cheese (aka chevre) on the bottom halves. Top with a few spoonfuls of the Cashew-Cilantro Puree then divide tomatoes among the sandwiches. Close and serve immediately; or, if using for a picnic, wrap in parchment paper then aluminum foil and keep cool until ready to serve.
For picnics, I wrap sandwiches in aluminum foil and bring a serrated knife then I slice the wrapped sandwiches up and serve them with the foil on so everything stays together when it's being eaten (like you'd do with a burrito).