Monday, December 10, 2012


It's happened lately that I am always dying for a sandwich. Any kind, really. As long as there's bread and spread, whatever else winds up in there is usually satisfying.

Back in my beginning days in food service, I made my fair share of sandwiches. I always took pride in them- a good sandwich is priceless, especially when packaged well and to the customer's specifications. If they say no onions, you better not put onions on there. That's sacrilege. You should never screw up a sandwich order.

A sandwich is the sustenance of choice for busy professionals, casual day-off lunch goers, strung-out all-nighters. Simple to assemble and relatively affordable to produce and purchase, sandwiches win in my book. They win big.

One of my favorite sandwiches is one my mom always made when she and my dad were going to a concert with friends (a tradition my sisters and I quickly adopted). She called it the "Limo Sandwich" ... a high rolling stack of Italian meats and cheeses that could only be consumed safely in the privacy of a chauffeured vehicle.  Because it's that good- borderline sinful. Though pretty damn easy to make.

You'll need the following:

1) Olive tapenade
2) A large round or oval bread loaf- one that can be hollowed out, with a stiff crust
3) A variety of meats ... I recommend:
Hot Capicola
Genoa Salami
Honey Ham
4) Also ... cheese:
Provolone is a must. The rest is up to you. Maybe one other type.
5) Some aluminum foil
6) A heavy book ... perhaps a few phone books on top of each other. Whatever is available.

To assemble, cut off the top of the bread loaf and hollow out the inside leaving enough of the bread to allow for a good bite- a half inch or so. Save the top of the bread. You'll need it. As for the innards? Make croutons or feed it to the birds.

Once the bread is hollow, smear top and base with olive tapenade- a good, even layer. I consider spread to be the mortar in my wall against hunger. Be sure there's enough so everything sticks- that means getting the sides, too. Every square inch. Then, begin your layers. I recommend two or three meat, one cheese, and following that pattern until the whole bread loaf is full. I mean, heavy full. You'll need a few pounds of everything to finish the job. It's well worth it.

When the project is layered, cap the sandwich and wrap that sucker in foil. Top the whole thing with that heavy book and let it sit for a spell, say an hour or so, in the fridge. Once compressed, slice it as one would a cake. The layers look beautiful and it's interesting to eat. I like pairing it with crudites. Because with all that meat and cheese you'll need some veggies to feel okay about yourself. Well, I do anyway.

I know the holidays are creeping closer ... all the stress that comes with them follows close behind. Don't beat yourself up. There's no point in letting a holiday get the best of you. When in doubt, offer sandwiches to guests. I don't think they'll complain. Some might even rejoice.

Wishing you a winter comparable to a good sandwich- packed with all the good stuff that leaves you full. xo