Recipe: Cheesy Broccoli Tomato Rolls

Or, Cheesy Cheesy Cheese With Cheese on Top in a Cheesy Roll with some Token Vegetables.  I may have got a bit carried away with the cheese here…

When I was in primary school, our Tuck Shop had some pretty great stuff on the menu.  One favourite of mine was Frozen Oranges, which was basically a quarter of an orange, frozen.  You could buy one for 5 cents, which meant that I could quite often manage to find the money for it on non-lunch-order days, and it was cold and sweet and sour and essentially a treat from the Tuck Shop, which was all that mattered.

On days when I did manage to talk my mother into letting us have lunch orders, however, it was a different matter.  Not being restricted to 5 cent coins, I could set my sights on much grander, and far more exciting horizons.  For a mere 25 cents – I think it went up to 30 cents in my final year of primary school – I could buy a Cheesy Burger.  This little work of genius was a cheese-topped bread roll, split in half, with a slice of cheese put in the middle, and the whole lot grilled (or, on reflection, quite possibly microwaved?  Surely it was a toaster oven, at least?) until the cheese was gooey and melty. 

It was glorious.  The cheese, in retrospect, was almost certainly orange.  Or maybe Kraft plastic cheese.  But that didn’t matter.  What mattered was its sublime cheesiness.  And the fact that I could afford an apricot delight for afterwards…

This recipe is basically a Cheesy Burger for grown-ups.  Which is to say, it is definitely inspired by the Cheesy Burgers of my youth, but it actually does have vegetables.  And proper cheese.  It is still a crime against nutrition, at least if one uses the quantities of cheese I used this evening – and I’m not even going to tell you how much cheese that was, because I am regretting it already – but it does contain some of the elements of a balanced diet.  If one balanced said diet upside down on the pointy, cheesy end.

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What can I say?  Sometimes, I just really want melty cheese.  Everything else is just an excuse…

(Astute readers will have noticed that this is not the vegan meal I was planning yesterday.  The weather changed, you see.  Also, I really, really wanted melty cheese…)

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2 small heads of broccoli, stalks set aside for later soupy use, because you really just want the florets.  My, I’m chatty today, aren’t I?
olive oil, salt, pepper
1 tsp butter

1 small red onion3 cheesy rolls.  Or plain rolls, if you are less silly than me.  Do you want to be less silly than me?  Really?

150 g cheese, glorious cheese!  This is less than I used, but it’s still probably too much.  I used Milawa white cheese, and it was fabulous
about half a batch of slow-roasted tomatoes

Now what will you do with it?

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.  Chop the broccoli heads fairly finely.  You can use the thinner bits of stalk up towards the florets, but leave the main stalk for later.

Put onto a baking tray, drizzle with oil, season, and roast for about 10 minutes.  Keep the oven on!

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Meanwhile, melt the butter, and chop the onion into half moons and then in half again.  Cook in the butter for a minute or two over high heat, until they start changing colour a bit, and then slowly to soften them while the broccoli finishes cooking.

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Slice the bread rolls in half horizontally, and put cut-side up on a baking tray.

Grate the cheese.  I sliced it, but this was a mistake and is the reason I am now approaching a cheese coma.  So don’t do that.

This is not cheese.

This is not cheese.

Divide the cheese between all six half rolls.  Yes, I know this means two layers of cheese per roll.  This will help things stick together.  (Also, if you are complaining about two layers of cheese on a cheesy roll then you have entirely missed the point of this recipe.)

On the three bottom halves of the rolls, scatter your onions and then press a good handful of slow roasted tomatoes on top of that.

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On the three top halves of the rolls, mound up your broccoli, and press it down so that it sticks.

Put the tray back in the oven, and bake for a further ten minutes, or until the cheese is melty but the other toppings are not burned.

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Lift the broccoli half of each sandwich in one hand, and quickly flip over onto the tomato half.  If you are quick, and start with the edges adjacent, you will actually lose very little of the filling.  This surprised me, too.

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Cut in half to serve.  We had one and a half of these each, which was actually not overwhelmingly filling, but I think one of these with a mug of soup would be a better plan.

Enjoy.  Say cheese.

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Variations

This is not dairy free!  You can’t take my cheese away from me!  It is, therefore, also not vegan.  Sorry, all.  It is, however, egg-free, nut-free and if you choose your roll carefully, gluten-free.  The onions and broccoli make it a bit fructose un-friendly, I fear.  And I don’t think this is particularly low-GI, even if one used a sourdough roll.

I like the salty cheese and sweet tomatoes and onions and green-tasting broccoli, so would want any variation on this to have similar qualities.  Roasted peppers would work nicely instead of the tomatoes, and silverbeet or a similar green leafy vegetable would replace the broccoli quite well.  Part of me wants to put cannelini beans in as soon as I mention silverbeet, but I don’t think that would work with the necessary cheeeeese.  Roasted garlic would be brilliant instead of the onions.

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One year ago: Review: Sugar and Spice, by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra
Two years ago: Coriolanus Cookery – thinking out loud

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