The Number 48
This whole week I’m posting five recipes from long ago that are my wife’s favorite recipe requests. These recipes got buried in the archives so I’m taking this week to bring them back to life!
There is a small market on the ground floor of my office building. You might miss it if you walked by quickly. They only accept cash and their hours are 7AM-3PM. They have amazing sandwiches for dirt cheap – almost all of which are meat packed.
Recently, I’ve been opting recently for the only vegetarian sandwich on the menu which also happens to be delicious.
There are 48 sandwiches on the menu. This is #48.
1) Prepare all of your ingredients. Slice your veggies, avocado, tomato, and cheese.
2) Add a few tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil to a griddle or pan and add your onions, shrooms and peppers. Cook for a few minutes over medium-high heat until they are softened. Season with a pinch of salt.
3) Split them into to even piles and put your cheese on top of them. Turn heat down to low.
4) Slice pita in half and add it to your griddle cut-side down to it can toast lightly. Once toasted, flip and top one side of the pita with the avocado and tomato.
5) When your cheese is melted over the veggies, add the whole stack to the pita.
6) Top with sprouts and slice and serve.
Grilled cheese purists are probably not down with this sandwich. Some may say that it does not actually qualify as a grilled cheese because 1) it is on pita and 2) it has more “other stuff” than cheese.
I’ve opted to include it in the running though because it is original and unique and if I pile on enough cheese than I can still count it.
So let’s make them!
This is one of those recipes where it helps to get everything ready before you start cooking as it goes pretty fast. So slice up your veggies.
Slice your pitas in half. Also slice your tomatoes, avocados, and cheese separately since those don’t go on the grill right away. No need to chop the sprouts unless you just really like chopping things.
Put a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil on your griddle or pan and throw your onions, shrooms, and peppers down. Get them all mixed up and happy together.
After just a few minutes, they will be cooked down. Split them into to even piles and put your cheese on top of them. I put my heat on low at this point to make sure I don’t burn the veggies under the cheese.
If you don’t have a big griddle like this, you can use a large saute pan. I actually made this sandwich again using a pan just to make sure you could (and because Betsy loved it so much that she requested it two nights in a row.)
See how the pita is down in the background? You want to do that. You can toast them open-faced in the oven also. Either way you do it, oil them slightly so they get a bit crispy.
As your cheese melts, add your tomato and avocado to the inside of the pita. You want them to heat up slightly.
Add your veggie and cheese mix on top of the avocado and tomato, top with a good layer of sprouts, cut the bad boy in half and enjoy.
I have to toot my own horn here a bit and say that my version may have been better than the original #48. It is a bit spicy, has some crunch, and lots of different textures and flavors. Betsy proclaimed it better than the current leading grilled cheese. I’m not sure that I’m quite ready to make it the leader, but it is a damn tasty sandwich.
Cheesiness: 8. The cheese melts nicely because it is exposed more directly to the heat. Also, if you use pepper jack like I did then it is spicy also which is awesome.
Bread: 8. The pita has a nice texture, but it can be a bit flimsy and tough to work with.
Fillings: 10. There are a lot of fillings but they work really well together. It’s a great blend.
Overall: 9. I think this tied the pesto sandwich. I think this is an interesting sandwich, but the pesto and brie is such a pure, awesome grilled cheese, I couldn’t rank this over that one.
No doubt though, #48 is a very solid sandwich.