Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Travel Food: Pressed Sammie
Lots of coming and going this time of year, and I thought I'd share one of my favorite travel foods. I just made this one to take camping (well, yurting, really) with some of my extended family who live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We'll be largely cooking and eating outside, which somehow makes food taste better no matter what.
For the first lunch I made a pressed picnic sandwich. I love these things because they have what I think is the proper bread to filling ratio (meaning at least as much filling as bread, if not more). Plus they are extremely portable, taste even better if made ahead of time, and the combinations are endless.
This one is made on ciabatta bread, sliced lengthwise and then part of the interior scooped out of the top. It's a thin bread to start with. If I were using Italian bread I'd scoop out more of the crumb.
Then you have to slather on something gooey. Today I used chive and onion cream cheese, but I've used basil mayonnaise, guacamole, pesto, mustard -- you get the idea. Just as long as it's not wet, just gooey. Butter would be classic.
Next come the fillings. I started with a layer of chopped (and drained) sundried tomatoes, then a layer of overlapped salami slices, followed by colby jack cheese (between the meat layers so the veg wouldn't make it soggy overnight) then peppered turkey, a bit of leftover pepperoni from pizza makings and finally the veg: marinated roasted red peppers, black olives, and a bit of cucumber from the garden. I only used the outside of the cucumber because the seedy inside was quite wet. An alternative would have been to wilt the slices with salt for a while, but I didn't have time or inclination. You can see how I began piling more filling in the center to fill the slightly scooped out top of the ciabatta loaf.
Pop on the top, press firmly, trim anything sticking out the sides, slice into two or three inch pieces for serving, then wrap the whole shebang quite tightly in plastic wrap to sit in the fridge overnight.
Tomorrow I'll toss this in the cooler and we'll unpack it for lunch with slices of watermelon and who knows what else. Believe me, we three will not starve over the next few days.
And after that? K and I might go boating next week -- which this sandwich would be perfect for. And then a day long road trip -- another sandwich opportunity.
Of course you can put any classic flavor combination in here. Mayonnaise based salads like tuna or chicken don't work that well. Lettuce tends to wilt so I don't use it, and fresh tomatoes make the bread soggy. Imagine a vegetarian version with layers of grilled eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and onions with goat cheese between bread slathered with thick greek yogurt mixed with cumin, black pepper, a little salt, and fresh herbs. A vegan version might incorporate sliced baked tofu instead of meat or cheese.
Good heavens. After writing this I'm ready to go make another one. But instead I'll pack the rest of my gear for an early start and get back to working on the fourth Bailey Cates Magical Bakery Mystery. No work, no play!