There is something inspiring about a fresh baguette. This weekend, I finally had a chance to try Batch Bakehouse, a new bakery in Madison. We bought two muffins and a baguette, still warm from the oven. I felt especially excited, since it is the dead of winter here and I think warm bread is especially charming and comforting in the dead of winter.
You know what's even more charming and comforting in the dead of winter?
A hot toddy. A snow day. Open faced sandwiches, with provolone cheese and roasted tomatoes, served straight from the oven.
I know it's predictable that I--a Wisconsin girl--think that cold winter days are best paired with warm, cheesy sandwiches. But, can you really disagree?
Open Faced Provolone Sandwiches
1/2 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
1/2 of a french baguette
1 ripe tomato, sliced 1/4" thin
4 slices provolone cheese
Italian seasoning (or dried basil and oregano)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small tupperware container or bottle, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic and a dash of pepper. Shake vigorously to combine and set aside.
Slice the french baguette in half lengthwise and cut into sandwich portions--I'd recommend approximately 6 inches per sandwich but if you're serving this as one in a series of hors d' oeuvres, cut them smaller. Brush the bread lightly with your balsamic vinaigrette, making sure to get some of the garlic pieces in. Then, layer the bread with provolone cheese and tomato. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and sprinkle lightly with italian seasoning or similar dried herbs.
Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet with sides, and put in the oven. Bake on the second rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted and tomatoes have softened. Then, broil on high heat for approximately 1 minute, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
You'll have vinaigrette and 1/2 a baguette left over, so make it early in the week and then...make it again! When you slip and slide the whole way home, it is so nice to know there is a warm, cheesy, sandwich waiting for you.
Makes 2 sandwich servings or 4-6 appetizer servings.