Build a better sandwich

 

There is so much more to making a sandwich than slapping all sorts of ingredients between two slices of bread.  This week, we will take the sandwich and elevate this portable package to new heights.  Is there an art and a formula to making a great sandwich?  We sure think so.

With attention to detail, carefully sourced ingredients, and a little extra time, you can make an unbeatable sandwich.  First, it all starts with the bread… should it be crusty, crispy or chewy?  The bread is the blank slate, the perfect landscape, think about your ingredients, are they right for your bread, you don’t want a soggy vessel.  Look for hearty, healthy, local artisanal bread with texture.  Next, choose high quality protein and fresh, local produce.   Add vegetables such as cucumbers for an extra crispness then try apples or pears for added sweetness and crunch.  Finally don’t forget to spread on the house made condiments, which are easy to make and you control what goes in your spreadable.  Great bread, great ingredients, well-thought out flavors, textures and combinations equal a great sandwich.

Argentinian Steak Sandwich

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri by Modern Day Forager


The steak sandwich has taken many forms over the years, in different parts of the country and all over the world.  It has also spawned many other tremendous sandwiches like the cheesesteak, the French dip, my personal favorite the Italian beef and so many more.  The basis for them all is a good piece of meat (or a well marinated and/or seasoned one) and great bread.  It only figures that a country like Argentina that loves its steak would also be home to one of the most flavor packed steak sandwiches in the world here is our take:

Ingredients:
• Skirt Steak
• Chimichurri–MDF Chimichurri Recipe
French bread loaf of roll

Directions:
1.  Rub skirt steak with Chimichuri and marinate for at least 2 hours. (we do ours overnight in a zip lock bag)
2.  Grill to desired doneness. (no more than med-rare)
3.  Slice on bias against the grain about 1/2 inch thick.
4.  Shingle on bread and top with more chimichurri.
5.  Serve with more chimichurri as a dip.

Variations:
• Add grilled red pepper
• Serve with mayo, lettuce and tomato
• Serve with sautéed onions

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri by Modern Day Forager

Note:
For a great side dish toss chimichurri sauce on potato wedges and roast in 400°F oven until just tender, about 40 minutes.

Grilled Salumi and Cheese with Mustarda

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By all accounts the good ‘ol American style grilled cheese sandwich has been around since the 1920s and there are versions of this standard in just about every culture around the world.  We love a good grilled sandwich as much as anyone so this is our fusion of a grilled cheese, a Croque-monsieur and a Panini. The key, to the perfect grilled sandwich is that the flavors and textures all compliment each other and we think this one does just that…

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Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. On one piece of bread, spread the mustarda in an even layer.
  2. Fan the salumi slices over mustarda.
  3. Lay the cheese on top of the salumi.
  4. Top with another slice of bread.
  5. Spread 1/2 teaspoon butter on the top slice of bread.

*Repeat this for the remaining three sandwiches.

  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat and add the remaining butter to the pan.  Once the butter is foaming, place the non-butter side of the sandwich in the pan. (we used our Panini maker)

Heat for 5-6 minutes until golden brown and the cheese begins to melt.  Using a spatula, flip the sandwich to the other side for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown and the cheese is completely melted.

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Modern Day Forager

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Glazed Blueberry Stuffed French Toast with Bacon & Orange Sunshine Bitters

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

 

A sweet and savory french toast like no other.  One of the most decadent recipes we have styled and ever tasted.  We saw this combination of flavors on a menu in NYC and always wanted to recreate the flavor profile.  We chose to use challah bread as our vehicle, plus the addition of crispy thick cut bacon and citrus bitters to mix things up, so here it is.  Waking up to this..is really not hard to do.

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Glazed Blueberry Stuffed French Toast with Bacon & Orange Sunshine Bitters

Ingredients:

1 loaf challah bread, sliced into 2 ½ to 3 inch slices (recipe makes 6 to 8 slices)

8 oz. ricotta cheese

12 to 16 slices of bacon, cooked crispy and chopped (retain pan drippings)

1/4 cup blueberry jam

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbl unsalted butter (melted)

2 Tbl unsalted butter

1 Tbl brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp orange bitters (we used AZ Bitters Lab Orange Sunshine)

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 Lg eggs

maple syrup (for serving)

Directions:

  1. Place sliced bacon on a rack in a sheet pan and bake until crispy, drain on a paper towel.  Retain pan drippings to cook French toast.
  2. With a small sharp knife, make a horizontal slice in bottom crust of bread creating the pocket you will pipe filling into.
  3. In a bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, blueberry jam, and lemon zest. Place mixture in a Ziploc bag and when you are ready to fill bread pockets, slice corner off bag and pipe.
  4. In a bowl whisk together milk, syrup, salt. Tablespoon of melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, bitters, cinnamon, and eggs.
  5. In a large (preferably cast iron) skillet heat bacon drippings on medium heat. You will need about 2 tablespoons, you can add butter if you need more fat.
  6. Using your piping bag, fill each bread pocket with approximately 2 tablespoons of filling.  Push bacon into filled pocket of bread, pushing out to edges as much as possible.
  7. Once slices are stuffed soak each slice in egg mixture for about 10 seconds per side, then place in hot skillet.  Cook until both sides are caramelized.

Serve warm topped with extra jam, fresh berries, lemon zest and maple syrup.

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Modern Day Forager

Olive Tapenade

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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This is a lovely addition to any party.  Just thin slice a baguette and toast or grill after brushing with olive oil and serve.

Olive Tapenade

1 cup kalamata olives, pitted

1 cup large green olives, pitted

1 cup black olives, pitted

1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded and chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic

1/2 oz parsley, chopped

1/2 oz basil, chopped

3 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons capers

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Lemon Zest (as garnish)

Italian Flat Leaf Parsley (as garnish)

  1. Put the olives (all 3), capers, garlic and bell pepper into a food processor.
  2. Pulse in 1-second intervals about 8-10 times.
  3. Add the herbs, lemon juice and olive oil.
  4. Pulse another 8-10 times.  Be careful not to over process.
  5. Garnish with lemon zest and parsley.

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Modern Day Foragers