feta-zucchini flatbread sandwich with spicy cilantro mayo + black olives

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At their beginnings, spring and autumn fall around our shoulders in similar ways.

At the breaking of both, I’m overcome with the same (unrealistic), high-hoped glee when I see what looks like hot sun through the window shade: I’ll walk out of my apartment without my scarf, just in that old and faded, favorite jean jacket — and I’ll do my best not to shiver with arms crossed, because it’s either not quite warm (spring) or no longer warm enough (fall). Tell me, you’ve done it, too?

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I know, it’s foolish.

But sometimes, it’s nearly impossible to temper what my mind has imagined, with what it actually feels like once I’m in open air. And jean jackets are just full of so much promise.

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This sandwich, hot-pressed, is made for a simple afternoon, spring or fall, with or without the jean jacket on. It’s for the kind of afternoon when you’re just craving grilled bread that’s crisp and golden, or melty cheese or sauteed veggies… or all three? And why not all three?

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I know if we’re anything alike, you’ve been here before; you’ve stuffed flatbread and pitas over and over again, with all kinds of cold cuts, from pepper-crusted turkey to Genoa salami with just about every kind of grated cheese, pan-grilled or sandwich-pressed.

Here again, you will find yourself caught between that easy medley, humble and so good: grilling flatbread smeared with fresh-chopped cilantro mayonnaise. Oh, yes, crumbled feta with slim zucchini matchsticks and a smattering of black olives, can do that to a girl..

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Eat standing up, savouring salty feta, reheating the sandwich iron for seconds.

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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, julienned into fine matchsticks
  • 1 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 large flatbread
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • handful black olives
  • lemon juice
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

I make this sandwich using an iron sandwich press. If you don’t have a press, the flatbread can be toasted, then stuffed and folded in half to be warmed with a bit of olive oil in a shallow pan. Use a spatula to flip the sandwich, removing from heat when flatbread is browned and cheese is melted.

Heat a medium-sized pan with olive oil.

Toss zucchini matchsticks with salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add zucchini to the hot pan and toss gently, sprinkling in a pinch of cayenne pepper to taste. Stir in lemon juice. Sauté until zucchini is tender, browned in some places, with translucent pieces.

Meanwhile, prepare cilantro mayo. Mix mayonnaise with lemon juice to taste, a pinch of cayenne pepper and freshly chopped cilantro.

Spread flatbread with cilantro-mayo, then pit and chop black olives, sprinkling them over flatbread.

Pile olives and mayo with sautéed zucchini and crumbled feta cheese. Season with additiona salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Fold flatbread in half, making sure that sandwich contents are completely concealed and place folded sandwich in the press for about 3-5 minutes, or until flatbread edges are crisp and cheese is soft and melting. Cut sandwich into two halves. Sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro if desired.

Serve hot.

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