Last week I posted about BLTs, those awesome sandwiches that perfectly meld the flavors of bacon, lettuce and summer-fresh tomatoes. Then, this weekend we went to a friend’s house for a small get-together. She served the most amazing Italian sandwiches, and it got me thinking how under-appreciated the Italian sandwich is as a quick and easy dinner food.
I’m so used to slapping together PB&J or balogna and cheese for my daughter’s lunch every day that I forget it’s possible to make a dinner sandwich that’s nutritious, satisfying and not just an attempt to cram some protein and fiber into a kid-friendly, portable package.
The secret to my friend’s sandwich is fresh, quality ingredients. If you work near a deli, you could pick these items up over lunch.
Amounts will depend on number of people you’re serving (and how hungry they are.)
- Loaf of Italian or French bread (bakery-style)
- Mayonnaise (or pesto, if you have some on hand)
- Salami, sliced
- Soft cheese (Havarti or Provolone), sliced
- Red onions, sliced
- Red peppers, sliced (or a jar of roasted red peppers)
- Fresh basil leaves (arugula is good, too)
- The bread is especially important–she uses a nice, long crusty/chewy loaf.
- Cut it through the middle so you have two long pieces, then slather on a bit of mayonnaise and/or some pesto. (I usually have fresh pesto on hand in the summer, but you can buy it ready-made.)
- Next, layer salami with a soft, mildly aggressive cheese. My friend recommends havarti or provolone.
- Add some thin slices of red onion and red bell pepper (roasted red peppers from a jar work well).
- The final touch–the one that really makes this sandwich, I think–is fresh basil leaves in place of lettuce. We grow basil on the back patio since it’s so low-maintenance but, again, you can always get it at the store. You only have to use a few leaves to get a wonderful spicy, fresh flavor.
- Cut your long sandwich into pieces big enough to hold, and then serve with a bit of ready-made pasta salad. Summery, satisfying and simple!