Smoky Caprese Sandwiches

Valerie Bertinelli grills sweet onions to amp up the smoky flavor in her Italian-inspired sandwiches ?
Servings: 4 yield(s)
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
  • 4 sandwich-sized ciabatta rolls, split through the middle
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 5 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
  • 1/2 cup smoked almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes, preferably mixed colors, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup arugula
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. If your ciabatta rolls are very bready, pick out a little of the crumb. Put the rolls on a baking pan and bake until warm and crisp on the outside, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a small grill pan or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Toss the red onion in 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with a little salt, then grill, turning occasionally, until slightly softened and charred in spots, about 6 minutes.
  4. Stir together the basil, smoked almonds, crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in a bowl.
  5. Arrange the bottom halves of the ciabatta rolls on a work surface. Drizzle with a little olive oil, then arrange the tomatoes on top; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Next, top evenly with the onions, followed by the almond mixture. Lay the mozzarella on top; sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Top with the arugula and serve immediately.