Sometimes we do crazy stuff to our sandwiches which doesn’t work out so well, like our infamous pasta-sandwich. If you don’t try it how would you know, right? This time we did crazy stuff, and it worked out wonderfully, although by any stretch of the imagination this sandwich should not have worked. Perhaps one really can’t do any evil with seared tuna….
Since this was my first attempt at chicken salad, I used a recipe from Food Network as my guide. But I changed it up tremendously to make it nearly unrecognizable. The chicken was grilled instead of poached; celery was replaced by fennel (celery is one of the few vegetables that I just don’t like); the herbs were doubled (many recipes are just too timid with the use of herbs); and some of the mayonnaise was replaced by sour cream (my attempt at a healthier and more tangy salad).
This is a very simple sandwich, which basically is a great piece of Naan bread from Trader Joe’s, a slice of salmon, and a touch of tarragon mustard. I’m sure any Indian would cringe his or her toes considering the bread to be actual Naan, but whatever it is we get it every few months. It is a very soft and thick bread that almost melts in your mouth.
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.
The Belen Artisan Bakery is owned by José. It is located in Escondido a bit of the beaten path. They specialize in European artisan breads, and so naturally we went there only to find they made sandwiches. We had a roast beef sandwich on ciabatta bread, with avocado, tomato and olives. The bread was perfect; just a bit crunchy on the outside, thick, and fresh and spongy on the inside, and you could clearly taste the freshness that so many sandwiches lack. Service was speedy, and sitting outside on their little patio a delight, despite the odd location and nearby road.
For the past few weeks I have been berating Anders that he has abandoned his sandwich making craft. Berating is a bit strong – more like a strongly nudging. He has been focusing on taking photos while I make the sandwiches. This week, he heard me and made this tasty sandwich that proves even more than his passport and birth certificate, that he is indeed from the land where smorrebrod was born. It was one of those evenings when I just got home from work and crashed with no thought as to dinner. I was in the middle of one of those marathon phone conversations with one of my girlfriends when Anders came through the door, smiled and nodded in my direction and headed to the kitchen. He was a man on a mission. 15 minutes later, his mission became clear. He returned to the living room with this dinner sandwich that was so good to look at that I felt guilty eating it. Not too guilty though. Costco membership that made purchasing the crabcakes possible: $60/year and worth every penny and more. Having a husband with smorrebrod making in his DNA: priceless!
Sometimes a man needs to be a man, and that’s when he makes “The Big Bad Wolf Burger“. Oh yeah, 1/2 pound of patty with basil, cilantro, oven roasted garlic and blue cheese chunks. What a great 4th of July celebration that was. Inspired by the moment, I topped it off with crispy hash browns and a jackfruit/avocado rough guacamole. I can’t even begin to tell you how good this burger is, but this is so far the best burger I’ve had in my life. The jackfruit guacamole sweetness perfectly blends with the spicy mayo, the juicy patty, and the crunchy hash browns. These are the times when I think back to all the missed opportunities of my childhood to celebrate with awesome burgers, the food of men 😉
Leftover chicken is fantastic. Carefully pick all the little pieces of meat off, and make yourself a nice chicken salad. It’s very easy and simple, and we quite frankly look forward to the day after the roast as much as the roast itself. We have fallen in love with pepitas seeds (aka pumpkin seeds): These seeds are fantastic on sandwiches, as they provide some ‘crunch’ and taste great on top. We find them to be very under-utilized and the next experiment will be to try them on pizzas. We already know they work wonders on Lavash crackers. Posting this recipe makes us long to have a kitchen again, as currently everything we have is torn out and dumped. Over the next four weeks, we hope our fantastic contractor will be done building it back up, with lovely Calacutta marble counter tops and custom cabinets. Ahhh dreams…
Salad dressing, you say, how does that have anything to do with sandwiches? Well, one of our culinary experiments resulted in a delicious ham sandwich using this dressing as a spread. Anders loves tarragon. I mean, he really loves it. In our love of gardening, we’ve made many attempts at growing this delightful herb but to no avail. As I write this, there is a plant languishing on our patio in complete defiance of all the love, attention and desperate hope that has been directed at. But I digress. Lucky for us, we live close to a neighborhood grocery that sells fresh tarragon when in season, and when not, they sell huge bags of the dried stuff. And when life gives you tarragon, why not make a tarragon salad dressing?
So here’s the recipe:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp whole grain mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried tarragon
- 1 tbs honey (or to taste)
- kosher salt
- fresh pepper
In a small bowl, combine vinegar, mustard, garlic and tarragon. Mix well and taste. Depending on how well aged your balsamic vinegar is, you might not need the honey. The one we use is on the lower side of the price point and so does need a little help to soften the flavor. Add honey, if needed. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously. That’s it. We’ve make this dressing quite a lot and find that as good as it is freshly made, it tastes even better the next day after the tarragon has a better chance to infuse the dressing with its flavor. It works great as a dressing, tossed with boiled/baked new spring potatoes, grilled veggies and so many more.
But since this is a sandwich blog after all, the sandwich incarnation can be found here in this “Pepper Ham Sandwich With Tarragon Salad Dressing, Cheese, Roasted Garlic And Smoked Paprika.“
Recipe for Roasted Garlic Mayo
- 5 roasted garlic
- 3 tsp mustard
- 4 tbs mayo
Smash the garlics to a pulp with a fork, then mix in the mustard and mayonnaise. Continue reading Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise
Chicken Salad Recipe
- 4 roasted garlic
- 3 tbs Mayo
- 1 tsp fennel seeds (anis)
- 1/4 grated onion
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 grated garlic
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Tarragon Mustard
- 5 oz chicken pieces (picked from roasted chicken)
Mash the roasted garlic to a pulp with a fork, then mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Rejoyce, you are done!
Continue reading Chicken Salad
Well, well, it seems we are to be featured in the upcoming Costco Connection magazine (March), with one of our recipes. We’re very excited of course, so make sure you read the next one carefully :). This was planned back in December, which means we spent Christmas contemplating St. Patrick’s Day inspired sandwiches. This is the one that was not chosen to be in the magazine, but which we really loved. It’s based on corned beef naturally, and it has a little green in it. We hope you enjoy, and check back at the end of February to see which one made the (cold) cut…
A simple ham sandwich on dark rye bread, with melted cheese, onion and corn. The mustard gives it all a kick, and in retrospect perhaps we should have added a bit of freshly grated horseradish. If anyone tries that, let us know how it works out in the comments. This sandwich is highly dependent on the quality of the ham, so don’t be stingy. This here is our Jamaican Christmas ham, which is cooked traditionally with pineapples and lots of cloves, and works brilliantly for sandwiches and pizzas. Since we come from Jamaica and Denmark, this sandwich could be considered a cultural merger.
We just recently discovered the Spanish Valdeon cheese on an impulse buy from Trader Joe’s, and since then we’ve used it in several of our sandwiches. It’s not an overly strong blue-cheese, but not mild like Roquefort either. It sits comfortably in the middle of the spectrum, making it a great addition to sandwiches because it adds a lot of flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.
This sandwich is on freshly baked Danish rye bread, with our leftover Jamaican Christmas ham (oh soo good). The baked pineapple that’s included was actually baked with the original ham, but you can of course use a fresh one. Enjoy.
This sandwich is one of the many that can be created almost entirely from Costco. No, they don’t sponsor us. We just like a lot of their foods (psst, Costco, if you read this, get in touch!!). We particularly love it when they feature cheeses on the tasting floors. In fact, we get practically giddy like children in a candy store. This past weekend, we walked in and were greeted with the sign announcing “Cheese Tour”. Now, this always puts us in a quandary as we struggle to justify the purchase of yet more cheese. At any given time, our refrigerator is home to at least four different varieties of cheeses. After this weekend’s purchase, we now have 7. We are such cheese maniacs that we purchased Parmesan Reggiano even though we had a big block at home. There is something just more intense about the flavors and textures of a freshly cut cheese. The cheese guy was kind enough to yield to Wendie’s pleading that he cut her only the teeniest of pieces since this was to be eaten right away. If you are familiar with the family (nay, restaurant) sized packages at Costco, you know how absolutely sweet it was of him to oblige her.
So it was home to make the most elemental of sandwiches – potato rosemary bread with freshly cut Parmesan Regianno cheese. Yum. That was the appetizer which was quickly followed by another made with cilantro-lime shrimp, another Costco food that we have grown to love and find multiple applications for.
Large and succulent, they don’t need much else, so we try to limit the extras. On this particular sandwich, the most significant other ingredient is a small amount of mustard, so be very careful to measure that exactly, or it will completely overpower the taste of the shrimp.