The role of today’s food blogger will be played by Jeff Clements*.
Hey everyone. When Connie offered me the opportunity to be a guest on her blog I thought “how hard can it be?” Then I remembered how difficult it was back in high school English Lit. All the punctuation, syntax and grammatical challenges; man, I really started sweating. God, I have to come up with a topic too! What was I thinking? I am not a writer. I can’t do this. I need something to eat. (You see, when I’m stressed I eat. Not because I’m particularly hungry (though I most often am) but because it lets me cook and that’s my escape) I’m getting a sandwich.
Then it hit me (not the sandwich, the concept of the sandwich) 🙂 Sandwiches are easily the greatest food ever conceived. I won’t delve into the history of how the Earl of Sandwich turned beer into bread and then added some deli meats back in 1372 AD or any non-sense like that. With the exception of a few historians and the owners of some wiki sites, I suspect that no one really cares.
The sandwich is such a beautiful concept because it incorporates everything you want in a meal into one relatively quick and painless dish. Let me say that again. It incorporates everything YOU want in a meal. If you can eat it as part of an entrée, appetizer, amuse bouche or even dessert, I will bet good money that you can turn it into a sandwich. Someday maybe I’ll share with you my theory on how the clam juice really ended up in the Bloody Caesar. But I digress.
Back to MY sandwich. For me, nothing beats Italian cold cuts. Dry cured salami, salted ham and the cheese. OMG, the cheese. Sorry, I had a moment there. I ran to the fridge and there they were. All the ingredients to feed my appetite, creativity and blog post.
Need some Prosciutto di Parma, a little capocollo and some nice and spicy Calabrese salami. What’s in the cheese tray? Provolone? Perfect. Something to liven it up? How about some roasted red pepper, olive and caper relish? And then the bread.
The bread is going to require its own paragraph. The right bread can elevate this recipe to an entirely different level. Conversely, the wrong bread can make a mediocre sandwich (seriously folks, it’s sandwiches not surgery. Use what you like, not what someone else tells you is appropriate) and even a mediocre sandwich beats a can of beefareno for lunch, hands down. Today I’m going with a 12 grain ciabatta bread.
Finished on the Panini press and served with a Tuscan Five Bean Salad with garlic, rosemary and lemon, this is how inspired sandwiches can lead to inspired days.
That’s it folks. Hope you enjoy. Thanks to Connie for allowing me to ramble on. Hope to be back again soon.
*Jeff and I graduated from the same hospitality program in 1995. Jeff has done it all; Busboy, Waiter, Bartender, Room Service Attendant, Banquet Captain, Military Mess Manager and Executive Chef, just to name a few. He now has a sweet gig working as the GM of the Garrison Golf and Curling Club Located in Kingston. Jeff and his wife, Colleen, have two sons.
- 1 medium red bell pepper, roasted
- 2 tablespoons of capers
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
- 2 slices prosciutto di Parma
- 4 slices capocollo
- 4 slices Calabrese salami
- 2 slices provolone cheese
- 1 small ciabatta loaf
- For the relish, fine dice the roasted red pepper. Rough chop the olives and mix both together with the capers. Set aside.
- Slice the bread in half, horizontally
- Layer ½ the meat and cheese with the cheese on the bread first.
- Spread 2 table spoons of the relish on the meat.
- Layer the other ½ of the meat and cheese with the cheese on top.
- Cover with the top piece of bread
- Brush with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with some kosher salt
- Place in Panini press and cook for approximately 5 minutes or until cheese is slightly melted.