Greek Toastie with Creamed Feta

This is a sandwich to cook ahead for; everything is mise en place: aubergine poached, pepper and tomato roasted, all kept in plastic boxes ready for assembly after the bread is toasted. The feta, too, is creamed with thick, natural yoghurt, garlic and lemon and kept on standby in a plastic box in the fridge. The bread is smeared with vinaigrette and toasted, then layered up with roast tomato halves, slices of quickly griddled/seared poached aubergine, a generous dollop of creamed feta and roasted red pepper. This combo is unbelievably good and oozes deliciously as you bite. It will definitely need paper napkins, in fact all toasties do, don’t they? It could be served with a few black olives on the plate.

Makes 2 rounds, 4 sandwiches
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 1 hour, approx

4 tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper, preferably pointed Romano style
2 aubergine, approx 250g each
1 garlic clove
squeeze of lemon
2 tbsp thick, natural yoghurt
100g Greek feta or veggie equivalent
4 slices sourdough bread
3 tbsp, approx, vinaigrette

Halve the tomatoes round their middles, place on a foil-lined roasting tin. Smear cut surfaces with olive oil, using approximately 1 tbsp and place the tray in 170C/gas mark 3 oven. Bake for about an hour, maybe longer, until squashy. Leave to cool then box up and chill until required. At the same time, place the pepper on a separate roasting tin and roast until the skin puffs and blackens, turning half way through, allowing about 30 mins (for Romano), slightly longer for thicker regular pepper. Transfer to a plate, cover with a stretch of clingfilm and leave for 15 minutes or so, then strip off the skin and swipe away seeds, removing stalk first. Cool, tear or cut into 4 or 5 strips and transfer to a plastic box. Chill until required. Slice the aubergine in rounds approx 1cm thick. Place in a steamer, cover and boil the steamer water for about 8 minutes until the aub is very soft. Use tongs to lift onto a fold of kitchen paper to drain. Pat dry then smear with olive oil (approx 2 tbsp) on both sides, leave for it to be absorbed. Box up as before. Transfer the tomatoes to a box as before. To make the feta cream, chop the garlic and crush to a paste with a pinch of salt. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add a squeeze of lemon, 2 tbsp yoghurt and crumble the feta over the top. Use a spoon to mix and work into a thick paste. To make the sandwich, smear both sides of the bread with vinaigrette and toast. Quickly sear both sides of the aubergine on a hot griddle or non-stick frying pan and start layering up. Begin with skin-side up, halved tomatoes followed by a dollop of creamed feta, aubergine slices and 1 or 2 pieces red pepper – you want very little or it will overpower. Fit the lid and cut in half. Yum.