A wonderful warm melty, cheesy spinach and spouts sandwich that I had to figure out on my own because the restaurant wouldn’t let go of their secrets!
A long time ago is something relative to the person who is saying it. Especially in my realm where I have cookbooks dating back into the early 1900s.
But a long time ago, in the 1980’s, I ate a sandwich at a little place called Hopkins Eatery in Tallahassee Florida, which absolutely rocked my world. Or at least it rocked my lunch. And if you are down there, be sure to drop by and order one. They have two locations now, and everything they make is fresh and, frankly, memorable.
The Hopkins Eatery Garden Sandwich was made on a pumpernickel roll, and was all vegetables and cheese wonderfulness. You can have your memory of great meals at famous restaurants, or the thing that your grandmother made that she didn’t leave the recipe for, but I have the Hopkins Eatery Garden Sandwich.
DAMMIT, THEY WOULDN’T TELL ME SQUAT!
Hopkins Eatery is like grandma. She wouldn’t give up the secret.
One summer day, when I was having remembrances of things past, I called the little shop and told them how I now live 1000 miles away and “I’ll never get back to your restaurant,“ but I want that sandwich! “So if you could just tell me what is in it I will re-create it here at home.” But, it suddenly turned January on the phone, followed by a “Uh, that’s not gonna happen“.
BUT A PICTURE’S WORTH A THOUSAND INGREDIENTS
On the other hand, wouldn’t you just know that somebody who had frequented the same sandwich shop had posted a picture of that very sandwich on the internet. And guess who found it.
In fact, I found their menu online and, lo and behold, they list all the ingredients. And that picture tells me the order in which the ingredients are layered in the sandwich.
This sucker was gonna be mine!
It took a while to perfect the pumpernickel roll, which you can see in this recipe, but you can make the sandwich on regular pumpernickel bread if you don’t have the time or interest in making homemade pumpernickel rolls. But to be honest, you need to stop whatever you’re doing right now and go make those rolls and the sandwich.
POPEYE WOULD LOVE THIS STUFF
A glance at the ingredients compared to the picture above told me that anything I couldn’t see was mixed into the spinach. So I took two frozen 10oz boxes of Birds Eye chopped spinach, and defrosted it in the microwave, then pressed all the water out. I do this by squeezing it in paper towels, but if you have a better method you do that.
Then I plop that in a bowl, and mix in the shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, diced green pepper, diced green onions, and if you are going to consume it all at once, the sunflower seeds. If not, then save those for when you build the sandwich.
The only two important things to remember are: don’t add the sunflower seeds until you are about to make the sandwich, because they will lose their crunch if it is too far ahead of time, and make sure the Swiss cheese is on the top because it does not melt as quickly as the provolone. If you put the provolone as the top layer, when you heat the sandwich for a mere 15 to 20 seconds the top of the bun will slide off the sandwich.
IT’S ALL IN THE LAYERING
The sandwich is easy to put together. You cut your roll, if used, in half, spread mayo on both sides of the bread then layer the ingredients in this order from bottom to top: Spinach mixture, sunflower seeds (if not already in it), mushrooms, provolone, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, and Swiss cheese on top.
Heat it. If you have prepared the spinach mixture a day ahead of time, it’s nice to have heated it in the microwave for a minute before you put the sandwich together, but if you have put the sandwich together already, it’s ok. In either case, put the sandwich on a plate and zap it for about 25 seconds, and you’ll be good to go. It’s good to have the cheese melted, so you might have to zap it a little more, but if you start with some room temperature cheese, and room temperature spinach mixture, it should melt pretty fast.
I have no idea how they melted these things back before microwaves.
I don’t know why this sandwich is so good, but maybe you can tell me when you experience it.
As it says on the Hopkin’s Eatery menu: A hot cheese and vegetable creation on a pumpernickel bun, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, sprouts, sunflower seeds, green pepper, green onion, swiss, provolone, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise. delicious!
- 2 boxes spinach
- 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup diced green pepper
- 2 diced green onions just green part
- 1/2 cup Mayo
- 1 slice Swiss cheese
- 1 slice provolone cheese
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 Pumpernickel roll
- Mayonnaise for the bread
- Heat frozen spinach and wring out all the water.
- Mix in grated cheddar cheese, diced green pepper, sunflower seeds, and green onion.
- Heat to melt it.
- Mix well.
- Put mayo on pumpernickel.
- Layer between two pieces of pumpernickel, bottom to top: Spinach mixture, Mushrooms, Provolone, Tomatoes, Sprouts, Swiss Cheese