We love light spring-sandwiches that brings out the best in the ingredients such as heirloom tomatoes or burrata cheese. For this one we happened to have a bit of both, plus some of our homemade dukkah which is perfect for sandwiches like this. We also recently bought an amazing Lavender Vinegar from VivaOlivia which worked perfectly with the mild burrata and the pop-pop of bursting tomatoes as you chew.
Ever heard of the four cheese sandwich? Typically this sandwich involves an abundance of cheese with little smidgen of veggies. A few weeks ago, we decided to turn that recipe upside down and make the four tomato caprese panini. Thanks to overshopping (yet again) at the annual Tomato Mania, our garden has quite a variety of this summer necessity. If only the variety was matched by abundance. Sigh! This year, we have been outdone by the garden pests who have made off with most of our yield. Poor Anders. In anticipation of this annual raiding, early in the season he stocked the pantry with peanut butter – the bait of choice for our Have a Heart trap. Months later, we are out of peanut butter and tomatoes. There are some very fat well fed squirrels and rabbits running around Poway right now and they owe it all to Anders. How they managed to get to the PB without springing the trap is beyond me. Ocassionally, (grudglying, we suspect), they left us a few, from which we were able to have a few tomato meals – like this sandwich.
You can use any combination of tomatoes you wish. We used: white oxheart, brandy boy, Mr. Stripey and XXX. It was delish, so much so that after eating his mammoth sandwich, Anders begged for another. After eating his second sandwich, he was nearly comatose on the sofa. Sweet reward for me… that and hearing him declare, “this is hands down the best panini I’ve ever tasted.”
This is another of Jamie Oliver’s recipes we decided to make along with the “ Grilled Eggplant Crostini Appetizer” and the “Fava Bean Crostini Appetizer” both from his delicious book “Jamie’s Italy“. It’s basically tomatoes, basil olive oil and a slice of bread. The key is as always to use great ingredients for great results. We tweaked it a little like we always do since we believe in creative liberties.
And today we just launched the free Amazing Sandwiches iPad application. Why do you ask? Well, because we can. Browse all our sandwiches in glamorous high-res – literally sandwiches at your fingertips. It’s not fancy, it’s just… sandwiches. Enjoy. Oh, and you can download it directly from here.
Living close to Mexico means there is a constant influx of great Mexican cuisine. Carne Asada is one of those things that are very popular in San Diego, and it is essentially a long slice of skirt of flank steak, usually marinated or rubbed, and then grilled. It is fantastic when done right. Wendie got us a couple of these steaks, and of course I had to go make a sandwich out of them. I opted to add some ‘green stuff’ from the local farmers market on the bread. We call it ‘green stuff’ because we don’t really know what it is, but the guy that sells it swears by it. It tastes a bit like spicy tabbouleh without the couscous. In any case, substitute with pesto and all shall be well. The greens on top are called “micro greens’ and are also from the farmers market. These taste very lemony, and I wish we had more precise name for them, but alas, ‘micro greens’ it is.
I fell in love with Swiss chard at first sight. I first spied this vegetable at the local farmers market while I lived in Illinois. And there is a specificity to my infatuation – they must be of the rainbow variety. Large shiny radiant green leaves pillared by a red stalk and multiple veins throughout. What’s not to love? Two years ago, I took my infatuation to the next level and started a garden flirtation with this nutrient-dense veggie. I dedicated a 4 by 1 ft section of our tomato garden to their cultivation. Unfortunately, I waited too long to harvest and by then they had an earthy flavor that was most disappointing. Still, I just loved the way they looked in the garden and so allowed them to grow to near Jurassic proportions. Last year, in my second attempt, our nutrient depleted soil resulted in a single plant which I was loathe to cut. Enter this year and Anders’ threat that if we are giving up much-prized tomato real estate for this vegetable, then we had better have something to taste for it. Thus warned, I embarked on a mission of soil amendment research and implementation that an agronomist would approve of.
Just for fun, we thought we would ask if Costco would publish one of our sandwiches. That was in November 2009. Imagine our excitement when they said yes! So, due to their long production time, we were scheduled for the March issue of the Costco Connection magazine. The editor asked us if perhaps we could make a St. Patrick’s day inspired sandwich, with corned beef. Of course we could, and with a deadline of mid-january, our Christmas consisted of making several corned-beef adventures since none of us have ever really used it (turns out corned beef is quite tasty). Of our many corned beef sandwiches (some of which we have published already here), we had two favorites:
- Corned Beef Coleslaw With Avocado on Demi Baguette Sandwich (by Anders)
- Corned Beef Burger with Mayo-less Coleslaw (below, by Wendie)
The winner was this one, a delicious burger with a side of mayo-less coleslaw. Costco unfortunately ran out of space, so the coleslaw couldn’t make it in the magazine. This is, however, the entire recipe. Let us know what you think.
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.“
After making a fantastic tuna sandwich, we made a few variations of tuna appetizers the next day. This is one of them, and it’s great. When working with tuna, be very careful not to overpower the subtle taste. We added a very mild Saint Faron cheese as a spread almost, and topped it with a small amount of balsamic vinegar reduction. Notice how the vinegar brings out the texture of the tuna in the pictures. This is a bite of food heaven.
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.
About two weeks ago I promised Anders that I would make him the perfect steak sandwich. His raised disbelieving eyebrows might have been because I am frankly not a fan of beef. I mean, I don’t get it – what is the fascination? Still, a promise is a promise so I determined that this would be the day.
I left work with the plan in mind: rush to Trader Joe’s to buy ciabatta bread, watercress and the requisite rib-eye steak and get home and get down to business. Alas, the steaks at Trader Joes were disappointingly thin – a setback that resulted in a trip to two more supermarkets before I found the perfect steak. Two hours later, I finally made it home, tired and with some of the wind gone from my sail. Still, the look on Anders’ face when he bit into this sandwich made the evenings’ frustrations well worth it.