The sandwich is a perfect dish. And it can be so many things. Every cuisine has a version (or many versions) of it, and there is no limit to how it can or should be done. Most importantly, a sandwich does not have to be fussy in order to be delicious. Except for this one.
Point being, this is really a lovely sandwich. AND… If you don’t have an hour to dedicate solely to the construction of this sandwich, just schmear on some store-bought preserves and skip the fig confit portion (blackberry or blueberry would be nice). And instead of the homemade pickled chilies, you could use freshly sliced chilies or even just some raw onion. The pickling is just nice because it mellows everything out a bit. But no pressure.
For the fig confit:
12-15 dried figs
A pinch of salt
The zest of one orange
That’s it, I swear. Easy, right?
For the pickled chilies:
4 large red chilies (I like Fresnos, but red jalapenos work well too)
1 small red onion
3 cups of white vinegar
1 cup of water
1 ½ cups of white sugar
½ cup kosher salt
For the rest of the sandwich:
1 gigantic sweet potato
Salt & pepper
A bunch of dried spices (whatever you like, really. I used some cumin, chili powder, and dehydrated garlic on mine)
1 vine of cherry tomatoes (or, if you don’t live in California or have access to shit like this, just a few Romas sliced in quarters will do.)
1 bunch of arugula
A splash of balsamic vinegar to dress the arugula
Mayo, if you are into that (I definitely am)
Sandwich bread of your choice (but go with something substantial like focaccia, ciabatta, or sourdough)
Remove the hard stems of the figs with a knife. Throw the whole figs into a small pot and add enough water to cover the figs. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer the figs on a medium flame until they are very soft (about 10-14 minutes). If your water evaporates before the figs are soft, add in another 1/2 cup.
Once the figs are soft, place them into a food processor along with the orange zest and salt. Process the mixture until it comes together in a spreadable paste. If the mixture is too thick or sticky, add a bit more water, or even a little juice from the orange to loosen it up.
THINLY slice the chilies and onion and throw them into a glass bowl or jar. Boil the remaining ingredients and cover the chilies and onions with the liquid. Allow it to cool a bit and throw it in the refrigerator for at least an hour or so. Fun thing: these pickled chilies will keep in the fridge
for up to a month and you can put them on pretty much anything else you eat.
Roast the sweet potato and tomato:
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice your sweet potato into thin discs, and throw them into a large bowl. Drizzle over a few big splashes of oil, and throw in some salt and pepper and dust them with your dried spices. Arrange the discs onto a cookie sheet allowing them a little space around their edges. Put the tomatoes on the pan too and drizzle them with a little oil and a dusting of salt. Roast these veggies until the tomatoes get wrinkly and bursty, and the potatoes get soft in the middle.
Slather a little fig confit on one side of bread, and a little mayo on the other. Dress the arugula in a few splashes of vinnegar, slice up your mozzerella, de-vine the tomatoes, drain the chilies, and assemble away.