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.
There are occasions when my enthusiasm goes a bit overboard… This is one such occasion, where dinner turned into a monster sandwich. By the way, nerd moment; the top photo reminds me of the “alien” in the movie of the same name. Anyone see the resemblance?
We’re not sure this is a classic Danish open faced sandwich in the sense that the toppings are a bit untraditional. Fried sage and Dukkah? That’s not what you would typically see in a Danish sandwich shop. But the concept is very typical: Meatball sandwiches are seen everywhere and classic toppings includes sweet pickles, lettuce and mushrooms. We just improvised on the theme, adding a bit of San Diego flair…
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.
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.
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.
A few weeks ago, we had a friend visiting for the weekend. He is a recent convert to the omnivore lifestyle – after over 30 years of a purely vegetarian diet. Food is nearly like a religion and each style has its adherents who hold to it with zeal and conviction that borders on fanaticism. So when our friend converted, we were so thrilled that he had chosen to walk the other side that we now consider it our mission to ensure that his forays into the omnivore lifestyle are rewarding enough to cement his place as a member of our growing sect 🙂 “Thou shalt not backslide”. Still, even with this new adventurous palate, his lifetime of preparing only vegetarian cuisine means that he is at a loss as to what to do when confronted with meat or fish. He does well enough when dining out, but at home he needs to prepare vegetarian cuisine if he is to eat at all.
When he visited, he remarked that our blog is woefully lacking in vegetarian style sandwiches that he could create at home. We have been remiss, and so have prepared this little sandwich in his honor. Subu, this one’s for you (more acts of repentance to follow).
I love a good crab cake, so naturally ever since we started this blog I’ve been dying to make a crab cake sandwich. Last week-end we had out-of-town visitors begging us to make some amazing sandwiches, so I thought that would be a good time to try it. One of our friends is Indian and an ex-vegetarian so naturally this had better be good or else he might snap back (he didn’t 🙂 ). When you make anything fishy, it’s almost impossible to add too much lemon, so we made sure to soak these sandwiches good in lots of lemon juice. The slice on top is just for show and is a classical Danish garnish back home.
The focaccia was baked by Wendie, and we highly recommend making more bread at home. It’s a lost art these days, but the smell of fresh bread in the house is priceless.
Last summer we went on vacation to Greece, to the island of Lesvos. We were prepared to taste amazing foods, local delicacies and great tasting salads. Our friends have told us enough stories about the Greek islands that we were rather excited to taste the cuisine. Honestly though, it was a bit of a letdown. The island seems to have gotten a bit ‘touristy’, and the food was usually bland. It wasn’t bad per se, it was just not very interesting. After two weeks eating all over the island, we did find a restaurant on the last day of our trip which was actually great, but that was the exception. Given the less-than-satisfying culinary experiences, we did find one simple dish we kept returning to; The greek salad. It is a salad with a simple dressing, topped with a gigantic block of feta cheese. We decided to combine this a little with the pan seared feta dish called saganaki. We roasted a slice of feta in the oven, and placed it on top of a simple salad on toast. The result was amazing, and here is the recipe.
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.
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.
Blame it on my Danish upbringing, but I can’t walk away from a good cheese, and this sandwich sports one of our favorites: Roquefort. For those not in the know (but care to be), it’s like a mild blue cheese, soft and tangy, and usually crumbles easily (although this one didn’t). We bought it at Costco (which means we have a family sized block for the two off us). Since it is a ‘Product of France’, European law dictates that only those cheeses aged in the natural Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon may be called Roquefort. Similarly, Feta cheese may rightfully be called Feta if and only if it’s from Greece. We always find it interesting to know where our foods really come from, and this is one of those rare occasions where we have a clue.
The sandwich itself is simple, lettuce, tomato, roasted tomatoes, Roquefort and a wonderful creamy garlic paste with tarragon from Majestic Garlic which we got at the Temecula’s farmers market. You need to get this spread it’s fantastic on sandwiches, eggs, pasta and so much more!
This kafta sandwich is very spicy due to the black bean chili. We wanted to create something with more ‘umph’ to it, but also something fresh. So we came up with adding lemon and yogurt dressing to take the edge of the chili, and the combination really worked well. This sandwich will make your hair grow long and strong, and turn boys to men and men to sheep. It also goes well with any episode of Law & Order.
Open faced sandwiches can be beautifully stacked creations, but when squeezed into a lunch-bag, carried by 10-year olds biking to school in a backpack and thrown in a community refrigerator, open-faced sandwiches may not be the first choice of lunch.
Not so for my mom. She was a firm believer in open-faced sandwiches and made them as if I was eating at home, except, she wrapped them tight in cellophane wrap before stacking them in my lunch box.
As you might image, the end result was not always… appetizing. Cod roe sandwiches with remoulade and fried onions turned into cud roe salad with wet soggy onions. A once tantalizing potato sandwich with mayonnaise and green onions turned into something wet and soggy, almost like paste.
This sandwich, a cod roe creation, is my own personal rebellion against my childhoods school sandwiches. I reject the cellophane wrap method, and embrace exuberance.
This sandwich blog is getting to me. For almost a week I’ve been anticipating a convenient time to make my famous (20 years ago in college at least) tuna salad. Each time I was about to make it, some other sandwich had to take priority (since we’re on a budget, we can’t just keep making new stuff without first eating all of the old). So, today I finally got to make it and what a blast. I got to use it on 3 different style sandwiches in just one day, and I still can’t get enough of it.
This one is a tuna salad sandwich with chili-lime shrimp and fresh lettuce and cucumber. Topped with a few cuts of green onion and 2 grape tomatoes cut in half. A bit of stone ground mustard adds the zing to the zong to the ramalamadingdong.