When we make our Garden Zucchini Carpaccio, we sometimes use it as a topping for an impromptu sandwich as well. Since the salad is not very wet, it lends itself perfectly to the bread, and the crunch from the fresh zucchini’s and radishes goes very well with a softer bread without crust.
One sandwich I have never gotten around to liking is the chicken salad sandwich. Perhaps it’s because I was introduced to it at a deli counter. The mayonnaise was so plentiful that I could hardly taste the chicken. Since then I’ve stayed away from all chicken salads, and supermarket deli counter foods for that matter. Still searching for a quick meal last night I decided to attempt to make my own and thereby kill two birds with a single chicken breast: rescue the chicken salad from mayonnaise hell and make a week night meal in time for Anders and I to enjoy a date night (go see the movie Unstoppable). Both were handily accomplished.
After a visit to the local 99c Market (Asian grocery store), we got inspired by their roasted ducks and decided to make a panini sandwich. We have to admit though, the duck was of pretty poor quality which ruined the sandwich once we ate it, but if we had had a decently home-roasted duck we both feel confident this would have been a great sandwich. We also partly made this because of Ujin, who at the time had been interviewing us for an article in a Chinese youth-magazine. Respectfully we named the sandwich after her.
This past week one of this blogs co-founders celebrated his birthday and was given a party that in true Amazing Sandwich style. Anders was not only born in Denmark but spent most of his life there and it is his and that country’s commitment to the sandwich that served as the inspiration for our blog. Denmark is the world that has transformed this humble meal to gourmet standards. So it was only appropriate that Anders’ birthday be celebrated with an ode to the smørrebrød. So last week saw me scurrying about to purchase the necessary ingredients that would make Ida Davidsen proud. Ida Davidsen is the Grande Dame of Danish smørrebrød and operates a Michelin-starred restaurant devoted solely to this national dish. We planned on three of Anders’ favorite Danish smørrebrød: leverpostej (liver pate), Fiskefilet med remoulade (fillet of fish with remoulade) and frikadeller (meatballs). Today’s entry will be devoted to the fiskefilet. I know you are thinking – what could be so special about a fish fillet? Let me tell you my friend, this is no mere fish on bread. The preparation, construction and… alone took me hours. We had 14 at our party and so in making for your own, you’ll need to adjust the ingredients accordingly.
This is a simple sandwich for people in a rush (well, assuming you have the ingredients available). You need some hummus, and a bit of really good mozzarella, like this buffalo mozzarella which is smooth and creamy. We make our own hummus, which is a variation on this recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Hummus. This is a spicy hummus with cilantro and banana peppers instead of the sun-dried tomato basil.
This sandwich was really just a quick lunch-snack to keep us going through a long day of yard work. Putting down the gloves after weeding the tomato garden we found a bit of leftover grilled salmon from the night before, some veggies, and voila, a sandwich was born. When I grew up in Denmark, my mother tended to make the same sandwiches day after day. Liver pate sandwich, potato sandwich, Russian salad sandwich, chocolate sandwich (dessert). Rinse, repeat. Now, with this blog, we have made literally hundreds of different sandwiches, and I wonder what my childhood would have been like with that kind of variety. It’s so easy to have fun with sandwiches, so don’t get stuck in the same humdrum, live a little 🙂
How many ways can you make a smoked salmon sandwich? It turns out there are many – or so my search on Tastespotting revealed. Tastespotting is pure visual food pornography – some awesome photos of really great food with popularity driven by the online food community. We love it and have had a few of our own creations featured there. Sometimes I am just starved for inspiration. When we first started this ambitious blog, I thought coming up with 100 sandwiches would be itself an epic feat. Now as we approach the 200 sandwich mark, I marvel at some of the creations that we have come up with. Anders’ Big Bad Wolf Burger is one such marvel. As you can imagine, with this many sandwiches behind us, it becomes increasingly difficult to come up with a creative (and postable) sandwich. When those moments happen, I turn to the Internet. Today it was Draganabakes by way of a photo on Tastespotting. That recipe included a shallot mayonnaise. With the abundance of cilantro from my last run to the grocery store, I decided to whip up some cilantro mayonnaise instead.
I miss plantains. For those who don’t know, it is the larger cousin of the banana. Unlike the banana it is typically cooked before eaten. I suppose one could just peel and eat it like you would a banana, but that would just be… well, wrong. My favorite way to enjoy a plantain is to fry it and simply eat as a side dish. Unfortunately, along with my strong accent, one of the things I lost in moving to San Diego is the ready availability of plantains.
Two weeks ago, I had a meeting in a neighborhood in San Diego known for it’s “ethnic’ population. Ehem… let me pause here to continue my fight against the application of this terminology. Why is this term reserved for non-Caucasians alone? Are they by some miracle of biology without shared cultural heritage that underpins the term ‘ethnicity’? But I digress, linguistic misapplication aside, I was lucky to be in an area of town with a fair share of Vietnamese and Filipino supermarkets.
As I drove through I remembered a plantain dish I once had in a Filipino restaurant many years ago. “Dare I hope?”, I wondered. I was not disappointed, I came out of the supermarket with a huge green plaintain. It took about one week to ripen, and the cooked fruit was a key ingredient in Anders’ breakfast last week Saturday.
(The other half found its way in a plantain flambé – my take on the banana flambe, something I am unable to make because of my one-woman boycott of the US commercial banana industry).
We just got married, and we were very saddened by the Icelandic cloud of ash that kept several of our Danish friends from attending our wedding. But everything can be a blessing in disguise. We didn’t tell our caterer, Phil’s BBQ, so we ended up with extra beef ribs in the freezer. While we miss our friends, at least we have ribs. And as the old saying goes, “if life gives you ribs, make rib sandwiches.” And so here we are, summer just started, and this wonderful panini (thank you Scott and Choo for that wonderful machine!!) is our first and most basic beef rib sandwich. Yum.
If you are a regular reader of this fledgling blog (Hey who am I kidding here? I don’t even think my dearly loved sister is herself a regular reader. But I can dream, can’t I?), you will note that the sandwiches here have a strong carnivore bent and as one kind reader was astute enough to note, had a bit of a “Dagwood” style. For that I blame Anders as he eats way more sandwiches than I do and so it stands to reason that this blog is populated with his preferred dinner choices. This next one is born of a weekend’s inspiration and my winning the battle in Kitchen Central! I love eggplants, even if they seem to hate the soil in my garden – which must be the reason why although I can get squash and tomatoes to grow in profusion, healthy growing eggplants continue to elude me.
Lucky for me we live close to a well-stocked Middle-Eastern supermarket which never seems to run out of eggplants. Thanks to them I was able to make this tomato eggplant marriage come to life. (P.S. The tomatoes are from our garden). An advanced warning; this recipe is not one you slap together in 10 minutes. It takes a little thought and might be best accomplished over a lazy weekend day. I have been known to do this in the middle of the week but it does take a wee bit of planning.
Contrary to what you might believe from reading the rest of this blog, sometimes we do enjoy the simple sandwiches. This one is about as simple as it gets: Bread and butter, salami and cheese. The only trick is to get good quality ingredients, freshly made bread, Italian salami with a great taste, and a fantastic cheese such as this Danish one called “Helge”. Yes, in Denmark cheeses have people-names. Go figure. Don’t even attempt this one if your bread is not fresh by the way, it will ruin your day.
Quite frankly, this isn’t much of a sandwich, much less amazing. It’s specifically made for children in Denmark, and is a typical sandwich they would take to school. It ranks just one notch above the infamous “sugar sandwich”, which is at the bottom of the sandwich pile. However, if you want to feel like a Danish kid, have one of these, then move on 🙂