For day 2 of this challenge, I have decided to create an Italian themed lunch that I think every member of the family will love. The menu includes:
- Baguette Pressed Sandwich
- Organic Grapes
- Arugula Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette (recipe from Elana’s Pantry)
- 1/2 c. of assorted nuts – pine nuts, almonds and hazelnuts
- Lemon Biscotti
The main entree for this menu is the Baguette Pressed Sandwich.
Pressed sandwiches have been popular in Southern France and Italy for years. The traditional pressed sandwich is composed of a large, split baguette filled with chopped tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, olives, capers, hardboiled eggs and tuna or anchovies drizzled with olive oil and vinegar. Some families actually used cast iron pots, pans or irons to compress the sandwiches in order for the rustic, crusty bread of the sandwiches to absorb the juices from the vegetable fillings.
My version of an Italian pressed sandwich includes some of my family’s favorites like pickled green beans, sundried tomatoes, salami and fresh mozzarella cheese.
Baguette Pressed Sandwich
- 1 baguette (wider Italian variety would be best)
- 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbl sp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 ripe, large yellow or orange tomato, chopped
- 1/4 c. drained and rinsed sundried tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper that has been roasted, seeded and sliced (see *NOTE)
- 3 green onions chopped
- 2 Tbl sp. pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
- 1/2 c. of marinated or pickled green beans, slice into three sections
- 1 Tbl sp. drained capers (if using large capers, chop to release flavor)
- 1 tsp. chopped, fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
- 2 tsp. minced, fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried
- 12 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
- 12 slices of good salami (nitrate free)
- Cut bread in half lengthwise. Scoop out soft centers from both halves, leaving 1/2 inch thick shells. Transfer bread center to food processor or blender and process until fine crumbs form. Set aside 1 Tbl sp of the mixture to use with other ingredients. Store the rest of the bread crumbs in refrigerator to be used in another recipe.
- In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil and garlic. Stir in the reserved bread crumbs, tomatoes, bell pepper slices, onions, olives, beans, capers, thyme and rosemary. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Spoon the vegetable filling into bread shells. Cover with slices of cheese and salami and replace top.
- Cut on the diagonal. Slice into quarters making four individual sandwiches. Wrap each sandwich in parchment paper and tie tightly with butchers twine.
- Place the sandwiches on a cookie sheet and then place a second cookie sheet on top. Place cans or a heavy pan on top of the second cookie sheet to press the sandwiches together to allow the juices to absorb into the bread.
- Let the sandwiches sit (not in the refrigerator) overnight. They make a great packed lunch sandwich because they don’t need to be refrigerated and they are delicious.
*NOTE: To roast your bell pepper, place your pepper under the broiler until the skin blackens and blisters. Keep turning the pepper until it’s completely black. Place it in a freezer bag or glass jar and put it in the refrigerator until it cools. When you take the pepper out of the container, slice it in half and the skin will come off easily. Scoop out the seeds, slice and add to your sandwich ingredients.