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

sandwich5


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…

sandwich6

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

Advertisements

Modern’s take on Mustarda and Chimichurri

Spicy Mustarda by Modern Day Forager

This cherished (Sicilian) Italian condiment has many faces, made with fruit, (fresh, dried or candied) sugary syrup, wine and the essence of mustard, it is quite versatile.  The specialty dish, Bollito Mistro in northern Italy, traditionally served mustarda along side this hearty stew (similar to the French Pot-au-feu) as a celebration dish in the fall and winter.  It has gained popularity and made its way as an accompaniment on charcuterie, crusty breads, cheese boards, spooned over creamy polenta and it is equally delicious, crowned on poultry, game and fish.  It even adds a depth of savory piquancy and sweet flavor as a quick pan sauce or poured over ice cream.  Our favorite way to enjoy mostarda is to add it to a grilled salami and gruyere cheese sandwich, the mostarda just adds a richness and a spicy-sugary balance to the saltiness of the cheese and salami.  Yum!

 Spicy Mostarda

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup dried apricots
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries
• 1/2 cup dried figs
• 1/2 cup dried cherries
• 1 shallot, minced
• 1 1/2 teaspoons minced crystallized ginger
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2  firm Bartlett pears, cubed
• 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard seeds
• 1 tablespoon mustard powder
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1.  Place the dried fruits, shallot, ginger, wine and honey in a medium saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.
2.  Add pears, mustard seed and mustard powder and continue simmering for another 10 minutes.  (pears should soften but still hold shape)
3.  Season with red pepper flake, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4.  We like our mustarda chunky here at MDF but if you prefer a thinner consistency you can puree part half the mixture and then mix for a medium chunk or puree the entire batch for a jam like consistency.
5.  Let the mustarda cool, place in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator.

Chimichurri Sauce by Modern Day Forager

This acclaimed quintessential Argentinean sauce, chimichurri compliments grilled meats perfectly and is a crowd pleaser you should try for your next summertime gathering.  This fairly spicy sauce is bright, fresh and herbaceous with a garlicky, tangy punch.  Made of parsley, oregano,  garlic, shallots, vinegar, fresh lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and olive oil, this sauce really needs time to meld all of the flavors together, so make a day or two ahead of time, before you serve it.  Not only can you present this table side but if you don’t have the extra time to make it ahead, it also makes a easy and quick (that day) marinade for vegetable kabobs, beef, lamb, poultry,  fish and will really pop and heighten the flavor.

 Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients:

• 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
• 5 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
• 1 shallot
• 3/4 cup olive oil
• 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

1.  Place all chimichurri sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed.
2.   Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Plus it makes an incredible cheeseburger topping.  Try adding it to soups, stews and rice dishes, as well.

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