Saturday, August 21, 2010
A Pressed Sandwich Begs for Creativity
All you need is a variety of deli meat (or not) and cheese, a couple condiments, a nice loaf of bread, and a brick. Thankfully, you don’t eat the brick. (That only happens at my house if I try and make bread.) I have heard this sandwich even called a brick sandwich, but since the first time I made it a few years ago from a Martha Stewart recipe, I’m sticking with Martha’s christening of it.
There really are no rules with this, just a few cautions: You need a firm loaf of bread; a fluffy loaf won’t stand up to the oil and the pressure of the weight and the ingredients. And the wetter ingredients, like a roasted pepper, need to be patted dry. Other than that, you only need to choose your weapons. Aside from your choice of main ingredients, variations could include olives, anchovies, artichokes, tapenade, pesto – you get the idea. I'd like to try roasted eggplant. When the sandwich is weighted down with the brick (foil-wrapped, mind you) all those flavors have no choice but to get cozy. The result is a dense, intense sandwich in which the flavors and juices meld wonderfully.
Depending on how thick or thin you slice it, the sandwich can be an appetizer or a meal. It’s great for picnics, since there’s no mayo involved. And it’s pretty easy to tote.
And if you don’t have a brick handy, a couple of heavy cans or a Dutch oven or something else heavy will do the trick.
I made this when my daughter and her boyfriend visited the other day for lunch and I’m making another when I go visit my sisters at the family cottage in a couple days. (So it won’t be a surprise Anne and Lynn!)
1 loaf ciabatta, or other firm bread
3 T extra virgin olive oil
8 large basil leaves or enough baby spinach to cover one loaf half
1 15-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
8 thin slices roasted turkey
8 slices provolone cheese
8 slices turkey pastrami
8 slices salami
8 slices ham
1. Slice the ciabatta lengthwise through the center to split the loaf into halves. Pull out most of the soft insides of both halves and save for breadcrumbs.
2. Brush each half with the olive oil.
3. Arrange the basil or spinach on the bottom of the loaf. Then arrange the red peppers on top. Top the peppers with the turkey, then half of the provolone cheese, the pastrami, the ham, the salami, then the remaining cheese.
4. Top the sandwich with the other half of the bread, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Set the sandwich on a large platter or plate, then carefully a foil wrapped brick (or other weight) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
5. When ready to serve, unwrap the sandwich and cut crosswise into slices.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.