Sunday, July 5, 2009

Uncle of all Sandwiches

Inner strata after cutting in half. See how the pesto seeps into the bread.

I don't quite know what the mother or father of all sandwiches would be. Maybe a pb&j, or pastrami on rye? What would the grandfather of all sandwiches be? I guess the Earl of Sandwich would know, but he was not at my 4th of July picnic. The uncle of all sandwiches is a big pan-bagnat style Italian sandwich topped with sopressata, smoked mozzarella, basil, roasted red peppers, artichokes, and pesto on hunky wheat bready. He smells like an Italian deli, is rich (with textures), and is sort of falling apart. Recipe to make it:

1 8-9 inch round loaf of bread
(You want the best! I used Balthazar's Wheat)
1/2 cup pesto
1/4 cup packed with fresh basil leaves
(don't substitute with dried basil, if you must replace use arugula)
1/4 lb thinly sliced sopressata, sliced thinly
1/4 lb smoked mozzarella, sliced medium to thin
1 6-8 0z jar of roasted red peppers
1 6-8 0z jar of oil marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
black pepper (red pepper if you like it hot!)

This sandwich which will be pressed under weighted plates in your fridge, so first make sure you have 10-12" square by 6-8" high space open.

Cut your loaf of bread in half with a long serrated knife. Insides out, which means pull about half (or less) of the bread out from inside of the cut halves. You are making space to layer the ingredients. Spread half of the pesto on the bottom half of bread and the other half on the top. Drizzle a little bit of the artichoke marinade on the each bread half for extra flavor. Arrange the sandwich fillings in this order:

1/2 of the basil leaves
1/2 of the smoked mozzerella
roasted red pepers
artichoke hearts
1/2 of the smoked mozzerella
1/2 of the basil leaves
sprinkle with pepper

Cover with top half of bread. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place on a plate, larger then the sandwich. Cover the top of the wrapped sandwich with another large plate. You are making a plate-sandwich sandwich! Set in fridge. You will need to weigh down the plate sandwich with something heavy. I used 4 cans of beans which I placed in a skillet on top of the plates. The skillet prevents the cans from sliding off the plate. If anyone sees this pile of dishes in your fridge they will certainly think you have the whole idea of cooking backwards. Chill the sandwich for 3 hours to 24 hours, so the juices and flavors mingle.

After slicing in half, cut width-wise to make managable pieces.

Remove from the fridge. Unstack and unwrap the sandwich. Slice in half. Slice each half into 8 pieces, width-wise. Return slices to plate or serving platter. Allow to come to room temperature for about 1 hour.

Craig savors his slice. The uncle of all sandwiches was
pretty popular at the 4th of July Picnic I attended.

I can't lie, this sandwich is tricky to cut! Its innards flop out. Do not sweat it, you can shove those rebel fillings back in the bread with clean fingers. I suggest cutting the sandwich when its as cold as possible. It serves 10-8 with no leftovers, because everyone loves it.

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