Lemony Broccoli & Mozzarella Sandwiches

February 15, 2021
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Photo by James Ransom. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Warning: This recipe says it serves 4, but you might end up devouring all these sandwiches yourself. First, thinly sliced broccoli gets caramelized and then marinated with lots of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Then it’s layered with tender slices of fresh mozzarella and slightly licorice-y basil on an Arnold®, Brownberry®, or Oroweat® Potato Hot Dog Bun. And, what’s more—the buns are toasted in butter until deep golden, providing a crisp, buttery partner for the cool, creamy cheese and crunchy broccoli. Are you salivating yet? (I am.)

In our household of two, I love making a big batch of lemony broccoli and keeping it in the fridge for instant sandwich gratification—just toast a bun and lop off a couple slices of mozzarella. Boom, an incredible instant lunch. —Asha Loupy

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Arnold®, Brownberry®, and Oroweat®. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large broccoli crowns (about 16 ounces), cut into large florets and then thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3–4 tablespoons)
  • 4 Arnold®, Brownberry®, or Oroweat® Potato Hot Dog Buns
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 16 large fresh basil leaves
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and continue to heat for another 30 seconds. Add half the broccoli, arranging it in a single layer, and cook, undisturbed, until it starts to caramelize and turn a deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, stir, and continue to cook, undisturbed, until the broccoli is tender-crisp, about another 2 minutes. Transfer the caramelized broccoli to a large bowl and repeat with the remaining half of the broccoli.
  2. Return the skillet to medium heat after cooking the broccoli and heat the last 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds, and sauté until the garlic starts to turn light brown, about 30 seconds to a minute. Transfer the cooked garlic mixture to the same bowl with the broccoli.
  3. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to the broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Wipe out the skillet used for cooking the broccoli and garlic, and return it to medium heat. Melt the butter and when sizzling, add the hot dog buns, cut-side down, and fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. To assemble, arrange a quarter of the mozzarella in a single layer on the bottom of the bun. Top with 4 basil leaves, shingling them slightly. Mound a quarter of the lemony broccoli mixture on top of the basil and mozzarella layers, then finish with the top bun. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches. Serve immediately.

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