View Mobile Site
  • Home
  • Marketplace
  • Community
  • Gas Prices


Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Sandwiches morning, noon & night

Posted: September 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Inspired by the Mezzetta “Make That Sandwich,” contest, Merry Graham created a bevy of tasty sandwiches, including a hot Italian sausage sub with Kalamata pesto and infused onions, which makes for a great dinner

View More »

Last year, at this time, I celebrated winning the vegetarian category in the Mezzetta “Make That Sandwich” contest. The check for $1,000 was nice; the excuse to make sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner even greater.

My grilled brie sandwich with cherry pepper pesto began with blending basil pesto with dried Bing cherries and cherry peppers. Then the Spanish martini olive on my plate caught my eye, so I tucked the olive into the sandwich. As I sank my teeth into the crispy bread, melting cheese, cherry pesto and spinach, the salty vinegar olive made the sandwich pop. The wow ingredient had been discovered and a winning sandwich had been developed.

Here’s my tip for making your own wining sandwich: Add at least one ingredient that is salty, sweet, tart or has some heat or pronounced flavor. Olives, dried fruit, pickled anything or hot peppers will do the trick. Artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh sweet red peppers or sharp cheese are fantastic, as well.

I love entering recipe contests because each challenge is like a puzzle to me. I have to piece together specific ingredients and cooking themes with my culinary experiences. I have researched sandwiches quite extensively over the last two years. It is interesting to discover each state has its own name for the same sandwich.

In California, we chomp down on submarine sandwiches but travel across the state line, and you’ll be eating a hero, grinder, hoagie, poor boy or a torpedo. The signature sandwich in Philadelphia is the hoagie or the cheese steak, while New Orleans claims the po’ boy. Bostonians love their lobster roll and Tampa delights in the Cuban. New York thinks its pastrami is better than our beloved local favorite, the  French dip.

Many of the sandwiches I had heard of, but was not aware of the specific ingredients. Here’s a rundown:
Cuban: Sometimes called a “mixto” or “Cuban pressed” sandwich, it is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on lightly buttered Cuban (or French or Italian) roll or sliced loaf bread. The ingredients are layered and toasted on a plancha, a sandwich press similar to a panini press but without the ridges.

French dip: This classic began in Los Angeles in 1918, when Philippe Mathieu was making sandwiches at his restaurant. Mathieu inadvertently dropped the sliced french roll into the roasting pan filled with juice still hot from the oven, and a delicious new sandwich was created. The French dip has made Philippe the Original restaurant a tourist stop, and it’s one of the oldest and best-known restaurants in Southern California.

Tavern sandwich: A Midwestern sandwich consisting of unseasoned sautéed ground beef and onions mixed on a bun and often topped with pickles, ketchup and mustard. Also called a loose-meat or Maid-rite sandwich. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but this is my least favorite sandwich.)

In my research, I also read about regional sandwiches that were unfamiliar to me, such as:
Bánh mi: Found at small Bánh mì and noodle (phó) shops in areas with a Vietnamese immigrant community. The sandwich is served on a baquette and filled with pâté, and mayonnaise with native Vietnamese ingredients, such as coriander, hot peppers, fish sauces and pickled daikon carrots.

Croque monsieur: A French-style grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich that is dipped into beaten egg, then sautéed in butter. A Croque madame substitutes chicken for the ham. (I’ve always called that a Monte Cristo). 

Speidie: A hot sandwich served in New York on Italian bread, consisting of lamb, pork, chicken, beef or venison marinated in a tart vinegar-based sauce that has been grilled on a metal skewer. 

No matter where my sandwich research takes me, I find lots of deliciousness, and with it, the realization that you can enjoy sandwiches anytime of day.

With that in mind, here are some tasty sandwiches for you to try for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Gouda fried egg sandwich with walnut raisin pesto

Makes two sandwiches

1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon black raisins
1/2 cup fresh packed cilantro, divided
1/2 cup sliced Peperoncini, drained, divided
6   pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons julienned sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon juice from peperoncini jar
2 whole-grain white sandwich thin rolls
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 eggs
2 slices Gouda cheese

Combine in a mini food processor the walnuts, raisins, half of the cilantro, 1/4-cup peperoncini, olives and sun-ripened tomatoes; pulse for five seconds. Scrape down bowl, add peperoncini juice and continue pulsing until pesto consistency forms. Note: If mincing by hand or food chopper, add peperoncini juice after mixture is finely ground. Spread two tablespoons pesto on all four halves of sandwich thin rolls. On the two bottom halves with pesto, place cheese slices. Set aside.  

In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Break eggs one into a bowl and gently slip into different spots in the skillet.

Immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Place sandwich bottom halves onto frying pan, cheese side, without touching eggs. Cook eggs for two minutes or until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken.

Turn eggs over, salt and continue to cook two to three minutes or until eggs are over-medium.

Place egg on cheese pesto roll, top with remaining cilantro and peperoncini and top with roll. Turn sandwich over and cook for one minute to warm through.
Serve hot.

Lunch — cold sandwich
Hog heaven hoagie
Makes two sandwiches

Mazing mustard:

3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
3 tablespoons tamed jalapeno peppers from jar
Barnyard spread:
1/4 cup marinated roasted red bell pepper
1 tablespoon sun-ripened dried tomato
3 tablespoons mascarpone Italian cream cheese

2 Hoagie or sub buns
4 Romaine lettuce leaves
8 ounces deli thin-sliced smoked ham
8 salami slices
10 pepperoni slices
4 thin slices of cheddar cheese
Dill pickle slices
Chopped sweet red pepper
Peperoncini rings
1/2 cup bacon bits

In a small bowl, mix mustard, mayonnaise and finely minced jalapeno peppers. Set aside. In a small food processor, combine red bell pepper, sun-ripened dried tomatoes and mascarpone cheese; process until smooth. Set aside.

Make a top slit horizontally in each bun. Generously spread with barnyard spread and line with romaine lettuce. Layer and tuck into the hoagie bun: ham, salami, pepperoni, cheddar cheese, pickles, red pepper and peperoncini rings. Drizzle with mazing mustard and sprinkle with bacon bits.

Lunch — hot sandwich
Uptown grilled cheese
Makes two sandwiches

4 large slices sourdough bread
4 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
1 (6.5 oz) jar grilled artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
1/2 cup pitted Greek Kalamata olives, sliced
6-8 ounces smoked or fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup peperoncini rings, drained
Fresh basil leaves

Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil; place oil side down on work surface. Spread pesto on top side of two bread slices. Divide artichoke heart pieces over pesto, and layer with sun-ripened tomatoes, Kalamata olives, mozzarella cheese, peperoncini slices and fresh basil leaves. Top with a second piece of bread and press together. Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet, heat on medium and grill sandwiches until golden-brown. Turn sandwich over and grill until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. Serve hot.

Hot Italian sausage subs with kalamata pesto and infused onions
Serves three to six

1 medium red onion, 1/8-inch thick slices
20 ounces fresh spicy/hot Italian pork or turkey sausage links (5 links)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons black raisins
3 tablespoons prepared basil pesto from jar
1  jar (25 oz) marinara sauce
3-4 large (6-9-inch) French rolls
4 tablespoons olive oil
9-10 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
1  tablespoon fresh grated parmesan cheese

To infuse onions: In a four-cup microwave-safe bowl, mix onions and 1/3 cup juice from the Kalamata olives jar. Cover with plastic wrap, microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or until onions appear to have softened. After cooking, set onions aside without removing plastic wrap. Unwrap plastic wrap when ready to place on subs. To make pesto: In a mini-food processor, combine olives, raisins and pesto. Pulse until mixture is well mixed. Set aside.

To make sausage: In a large nonstick skillet, over medium heat, brown sausages on all sides, about seven minutes. Add one-cup water, cover and cook on medium-high for five minutes. Remove lid, adjust heat to high and cook five to seven minutes. Cool for a minute and cut sausage in 1/2-inch diagonal slices. Return sausage to skillet, add marinara sauce and heat on medium until very warm, about four minutes.

To make subs: Turn broiler on high heat. Cut rolls in halves, brush with olive oil, place cheese on bottom half of roll; toast on cookie sheet until toasty and cheese has melted. Evenly spread Kalamata pesto over toasted halves. Spoon the marinara and sausage over the melted cheese. Drain olive juice from infused onions and layer on top of the sausage. Place peperoncini slices on top of onions. Top with pesto.

Regretfully, I didn’t win the Mezzetta contest this year, but I did receive a T-shirt that said, “My sandwich can beat up yours!”

Please vote for my original recipes for other current contests: No registration. Only one vote per computer by Sept. 30. Click the vote button for Merry’s Broccoli Turkey Potato.; registration required, and voting enters you into a sweepstakes. Vote daily until Oct. 10 (at 11:59 p.m. ET). My recipe is listed in the Atlanta region: Black bean and sweet potato porridge patties with jicama pico de gallo.

Merry Graham is a Newhall resident, fantastic home cook and winner of numerous recipe contests.


Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...