I have a confession to make: I am apathetic about bacon. Perhaps it’s just that by the time I first had a taste of bacon, my taste buds were so developed in another direction that they were inured to its allure. I am the woman who actually thinks adding bacon to a plate of fluffy scrambled eggs and toast serves to spoil rather than enhance my breakfast. So apathetic am I about it that in all my years of making the US my home I have never once purchased and cooked bacon. Now that I think of it that is rather odd – especially considering that I am one of those shoppers for whom going to the supermarket is akin to a cultural carnival. I literally get giddy at the prospect of finding new unfamiliar items that I can experiment with. I am the shopper you’ll see at the Korean grocery store, looking quizzically at a new ingredient, putting it in my shopping cart and only then doing a quick search on my iPhone to find a recipe, oblivious to the queue of irate actually knowledgeable shoppers behind me. Yes that’s me… and if you’ve been one of those unfortunate victims of my ignorance and exuberance, then I am sorry.
There are some thinks that don’t translate so well across cultures. Bagels might be one of them. It was a dreary afternoon in Copenhagen, Denmark, when I walked into the Bagels Corner. A bit hungry I could not get myself to settle for a plain cream cheese bagel, so instead I opted for the luxury bagel (Choice of smoked salmon, shrimp, pesto chicken, Mexican chicken, etc). I decided on pesto chicken, and selected a whole-wheat bagel with rolled oats on top. Looked great. Then the lady asked me for what type of cream cheese I wanted. Cream cheese? Whaaaat? I decided to see where this would go, so I picked the herb-cream cheese. She added a generous layer. Then the pesto chicken (lots of it), then lettuce, cucumber, corn, and finally she asked me to pick a dressing. I selected the curry dressing. Again she added a generous layer on top, and closed up the bagel. Oh dear!
When I grew up in Denmark, being a student, one of my favorite meals was take-out pizzas. Each block seemed to have a pizzeria back then, each making essentially the exact same pizzas. They were delivered in cardboard boxes, and inevitably took on the taste of the box. Thus, they were named among students “cardboard-box pizzas,” for their taste, not for their delivery method. On my last trip home, I got a craving for a cardboard pizza. I’ve had the craving before, got the pizza, and regretted it. I guess my taste buds have evolved. This time, I decided to go for a pizza-sandwich from a local shop on Frederiksberg in Copenhagen; Cavallino.
We recently discovered a great food store in Little Italy in San Diego. It should be noted that Little Italy is very aptly named, since it’s basically just one street. You blink, you miss it. If you are of Italian descent, please move to San Diego so we can add a couple more streets. In Little Italy, we found Assenti’s Pasta, a wonderful little delicatessen shop where you can get fresh pasta of all shapes and forms. Arriving there at 5:59pm we were simply happy traffic had not delayed us more, and positively exuberant that Assenti let us in. Yes, we had a rushed 5 minute shopping spree, but it was great. Here we found muffaletta and tuscan bean spread as well as fresh pasta (which weren’t really for sandwiches, although Anders tried and failed).
This sandwich is our first using the muffaletta, is was delicious. It fell a bit apart due to the iceberg lettuce, which became very slippery with the oil from the muffaletta and the melted cheese. We had to add toothpicks to hold it all together long enough to take pictures.
Since his birthday lunch of seared tuna at Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill, Anders has been dreaming about making a tuna sandwich. But the price of fresh tuna and our relative inexperience with cooking it has served as a big deterrence. You don’t want to ruin a $14/lb tuna steak! Anyway, this weekend he could not be stopped. We finally succumbed and bought a ginormous ahi tuna steak at Costco. This was one fantastic looking steak – probably big enough for 4-5 tuna rolls. So the plan was to sear the tuna, and, borrowing inspiration from Blue Water Seafood, serve it on a soft bun, rather than the artesan-style breads and rolls we typically use.
With a game plan in mind, the search was on for an acceptable roll. Anders just happened to be shopping at Lucky Supermarket – one of the 6 supermarkets that we just had to visit this weekend to satisfy our finicky grocery needs – when he happened upon: Pandesal rolls. Slightly sweet Filipino bread rolls which are very soft. Getting home with the unexpected find, it was time for the searing. A quick Google search, and a plan were laid to do one steak with sesame seeds, and one with a spice rub. From this point on we basically improvised the recipes below based on the content of our pantry, and the rest was… well see for yourselves.