Friday, August 3, 2012

Whole Foods Friday: Sandwich Trio

When I was growing up, a sandwich was likely to be bologna on white bread, ham on rye, or a grilled cheese. It was a long time before I learned about more interesting sandwiches like submarines.

They seemed so exotic, with mixed meats and exotic cheeses.

Other than the occasional hamburger or a turkey sandwich after Thanksgiving, sandwiches were never served for dinner - they were relegated to lunch.

Now I know that sandwiches can be much more interesting than a simple ham and cheese. And I've learned that there's an art to creating a sandwich that's truly special. I think these three fit that bill.

First is a pressed sandwich. Here in America, every pressed sandwich is called a panini. My Italian friends laugh at that, because it's just plain wrong. For many reasons. But I'm taking the American definition and running with it.

Next up is a vegetable sandwich. It's not pretending to be a burger - it's a mixed vegetable combination along with some avocado and cheese. I served it on a bun, but it would also be great wrapped in a flatbread. The pickled peppers I used aren't spicy, but you could certainly use hot peppers if you prefer.

And last is a meatball sandwich. I've had meatball sandwiches where the meatballs were the size of baseballs. That looks impressive, but unless you've got the jaws of a python, it's not easy to eat. If you make them too large, you can always slice them in half when you put them in the sandwich.

Panini

Applewood smoked ham
Honey roast turkey
Genoa Salami
Sliced kosher dill pickles
Finely sliced green bell pepper
Jarlsberg cheese
Brown mustard
Rustic baby boule, sliced (or your choice of bread)

Layer the ham, turkey, and salami on on slice of bread. Top with the pickles, green bell pepper, and cheese.

Toast the sandwich in a panini press, or you can cook it in a frying pan, if you prefer. You just want to toast the bread, warm the fillings, and melt the cheese.

Serve warm.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

1 tablespoon olive oil
!/2 medium onion, quartered and sliced
1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 bell peppers (I used 1/2 each of red, yellow, and green), cored, seeded, and sliced
12 spears asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces
Several grinds black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup baby spinach, washed
4 tablespoons MMLocal Mild High Desert Peppers
4 slices muenster cheese
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
4 brioche buns

Heat the olive oil in a pn and add the onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring as needed, until the mushrooms lose their water and it is mostly evaporated again.

Add the peppers and asparagus. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring as needed until the vegetables are tender. Add the spinach and cook just until the spinach is wilted.

To assemble the sandwich, divide the vegetable mixture on the bottoms of 4 buns. Add about a tablespoon of the high desert peppers to each sandwich. Top with the muenster cheese.

If you prefer the cheese melted, you can put the sandwiches under the broiler for a few seconds.

Add several slices of avocado to each sandwich, and put the top of the bun on the sandwiches. Serve warm.

Meatball Sandwich

1 28-ounce can tomato puree
1 fresh tomato, diced
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound 85% ground beef
1/4 medium onion, diced.
2 slices bread
1/4 cup milk, or as needed
Several grinds black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
Fresh basil leaves, sliced in thin ribbons
Mozzarella cheese, sliced
Soft French bread

Put the tomato puree in a medium pot or Dutch oven. Add about 1/2 can of water and the diced tomato. You're looking for the consistency of tomato sauce (or, if you prefer, you could use your favorite marinara.) Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Bring to a simmer.

In a medium bowl, combine the beef and onions. Dampen the bread with the milk. It should be soft, but not drippy-soggy. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and fennel. Mix together with your hands, until well combined.

Form the meat into meatballs about 2 inches in diameter. Drop the meatballs into the simmering sauce, one at a time. Cover the pot and let simmer until the meatballs are cooked through.

Taste the sauce and add salt, if needed.

To make the sandwiches, cut the bread into sandwich sized sections, split them open, and stuff with meatballs. Add as much sauce as you like, along with some fresh basil Top with the cheese.

If you're using a fresh mozzarella, it will begin to melt from the heat of the sauce. If you want it even more melted, you can put the sandwich under the broiler for a minute.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.
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