When you encounter The Sandwich That Changed Your Life, you want to eat it everyday.
You don’t care that it costs $7.95.
You don’t care that if you ate one a week for an entire year, it would total up to more than $400 of your hard-earned money.
You don’t care that you’d lose whatever is left of your Everythingtarian pride. Because those gorgeous layers of orange butternut squash, ooey gooey goat cheese and rich balsamic gastrique smooshed between two pieces of grilled bread is worth it.
Unfortunately, I don’t have $400 to spend on sandwiches. I’m trying to keep my finances balanced like a responsible 20-something gal, and somehow, paying for my monthly electricity bill trumps sandwiches – even the very special one that changed my life.
With such an unfair predicament before me, I figured I could do one of two things: either go to Madison Sourdough, eat the sandwich in protest and wear my North Face fleece, winter jacket, two pairs of socks, sweatpants, ear muffs and double scarves everyday in my apartment from now until the spring.
Or, I could get creative.
I’ll take creativity for $500 Alex.
The question is: “The Healthy Everythingtarian’s cost-saving replica of The Sandwich That Changed Her Life.”
The correct answer: what is Roasted Butternut Squash Sandwich with Goat Cheese and Maple Pear Balsamic Gastrique?
First things first: maple pear balsamic gastrique.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, dissolve 1/3 cup maple sugar in 1/3 cup water. While the mixture dissolves and comes to a low boil, finely dice 1 Bartlett pear and measure out 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar.
When your sugar water comes to a boil, turn the heat to low, and add the pears and vinegar to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced by half.
Strain out the pears and revel in your slightly thick syrup that tastes absolutely fantastic.
While your gastrique cools (gastrique, by the way, is a French term for the reduction of vinegar or wine, sugar and fruit), peel and slice a butternut squash into 1/4-inch discs.
You can also take a plethora of photos of your butternut squash like a crazy woman, if you so choose.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss your butternut squash rounds in 1 tsp. EVOO and a generous pinch of salt. Arrange on a baking sheet, and cook for 15 minutes. Flip, and cook an additional 15 minutes. While the squash finishes roasting, take two slices of Ezekiel bread and lightly butter one side on each slice.
Grab your buttered bread. Grab your goat cheese. Grab your gastrique. Grab your roasted butternut squash from the oven.
It’s go time.
Butter side down, stack one slice of bread with 5 to 6 squash rounds, drizzle 1 tbsp. of gastrique over the squash, crumble one ounce of goat cheese over the top and smoosh down with the other slice of bread, butter side up.
Let the heat do its thang for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, until it is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Cut your sandwich on the diagonal (like Mama E always used to do), and prepare to devour.
While I don’t want to compare the actual sandwich with my replication, I thought it only fair for you to see the Madison Sourdough version…
…as well as my version…
Which one is better you ask?
Honestly, I could not believe how close in flavor, texture and and taste I got to the original. I am not even kidding you when I say I ate this in three minutes flat. Quite frankly, I’m lucky I even captured any pictures of my concoction, because it was that dang good.
I don’t want to toot my horn or anything.
But knowing I can now recreate The Sandwich That Changed My Life for a fraction of the price and within the confines of my own kitchen has done exactly that: changed my life.