NOW THAT’S A SANDWICH!

by Jul 7, 2024

Sometimes I don’t feel like cooking: I just don’t want to turn on the oven, stove, or even the microwave. But I still want something other than the omnipresent salad. And I don’t want to order pizza or go out to get some take out. Grumble, grumble, grumble…

I guess it means I am simply in a funky food mood, then I turn to the ever-popular sandwich. Why? Because it is tasty, portable, and even easy to make ahead. Especially if I know I will be too tired or worn out at dinner time from gardening, and other physical events/activities.

When I am really tired and/or strapped for time, my little guilty pleasure is a toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Yep, toasted wheat bread (not the old white sandwich bread) slathered with melty peanut butter and not too much jelly. Maybe it’s silly, but somehow it is completely satisfying–partly because it is easy and uncomplicated. You probably have a favorite simple, comforting sandwich hankering yourself, don’t you? Leave a comment below to let me know what it is–I am always looking for new ideas.

But when I need easy, make-ahead, no-heat -in-the- kitchen food for a crowd, this particular sandwich comes to mind. Of course it is made with carnivores in mind, but when I have lots of people coming, I also add a no-cook vegetarian sandwich that I love: Double Pesto Focaccia. If you’ve been relegating sandwiches to home cooking for family or only for lunch, it might be time to reconsider your options for ye ol’ sandwich supper.

Although it has multiple components and layers, this Italian Club Sandwich is still easy to assemble so it can be ready and waiting when hungry guests arrive.

I love the zing of flavor and contrast that the pesto gives to the smooth, creamy mayonnaise. And there’s no need to make the pesto since there are some good, fresh-tasting pestos readily available in grocery stores now. If you need to use a jarred pesto, rather than your own, or a refrigerated version, simple stir in some fresh lemon zest, a tiny bit of the juice and chopped fresh basil to brighten it up.

I like to use provolone cheese for this sandwich. You can substitute mozzarella or Swiss, but I think the first one is not flavorful enough and the second is a bit too nutty in flavor. Provolone has the perfect blend of mild, creamy, barely salty flavor.

Mix the eggs with just a bit of milk and cook over medium heat until just set but not dry. Try to keep it more like an omelet rather than scrambled so it holds together as one layer in the sandwich. If it is too cumbersome or frustrating, cook half at a time. Set this aside, then you can use the same pan to cook the bacon until crisp. Drain and wipe out the skillet prior to dry-toasting the focaccia in the same pan. Alternatively, you can toast the focaccia in the oven or toaster oven until golden brown.

You don’t need to stick with focaccia if you can’t find it. Simply use a good ciabatta or even sourdough. You just want something with a solid crust and soft center. When I use one of those thicker loaves, I remove some of soft inner bread, leaving a good 1/2 inch edge. Then I save the innards for bread crumbs or toasted chunks for salad croutons. Sometimes I put these in the freezer for future use to thicken a soup.

When all of the components are ready, assemble the sandwich: spread the pesto mayonnaise on both sides of the bread and layer the egg omelet, turkey, provolone, and bacon on the bottom half. Place top half over all, and press down slightly. Wrap in plastic wrap until serving time.

Cut the sandwich into individual portions and serve with potato salad, chips, coleslaw or soup. You can even cut it into small squares to serve as a hearty and delicious appetizer.

ITALIAN CLUB SANDWICHES

2 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
Dash freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 slices bacon
1 loaf focaccia bread
1/3 C low fat mayonnaise
1/3 C purchased pesto
6-8 ounces thinly sliced turkey
4 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese

Whisk the eggs, milk, and pepper in a small bowl until well blended. Heat a 6-8 inch-diameter nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Melt the butter in the skillet, then pour the egg mixture into the pan, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. Cover and cook until the egg crepe is just set, about 1-2 minutes. Invert the skillet over a plate, and allow the egg crepe to drop onto the plate.
Cook the bacon in the same frying pan until crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.
Cut the focaccia horizontally in half. Lightly toast the two halves in a toaster oven or main oven

Combine mayonnaise and pesto and spread it over the toasted sides of the focaccia. Cover the bottom half of the focaccia with the egg crepe, turkey, provolone and bacon. Cover with the top half, pesto side down. Cut the sandwich into bite-size wedges. Arrange the sandwiches on a platter and serve.

To make ahead: Wrap tightly in plastic wrap of foil until ready to serve. Unwrap, cut into serving size pieces.

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2 Comments

  1. Jovina Coughlin

    Love egg sandwiches and your hearty sandwich looks so delicious.

    Reply
    • akcooker

      Thank you. It feeds a crowd, so it is good when you have a party!

      Reply

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