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The Sandwich: Inspiration and Innovation Between Two Slices of Bread

Mar 26, 2021 07:48PM ● By By Susan Nye
The ever-popular sandwich: we eat them first thing in the morning for breakfast and snack on them late at night. We love them for lunch, but this all-time favorite is also welcome at casual suppers and elegant afternoon teas. Truth be told, we can’t get enough of them and chow down on somewhere around 300 million every day. That’s a whole lot of PB&J, tuna, and grilled cheese.

The sandwich has its origins in the mezze platters of Turkey and Greece. Beautiful dips, vegetables, cheeses, and meats were served with flatbread and an open invitation to combine them into something delicious. However, this well-loved food gets its name from England and John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich. A notorious gambler, the earl spent so many hours at the card table that his cook borrowed the idea to keep him from starving.

After a long, lonely COVID winter, everyone is more than ready to reconnect. Light the fire pit and invite friends and family over for an outdoor sandwich fest. While more and more people have received their vaccinations, be careful—don’t forget to mask up and keep your distance. Share air hugs, good conversation, and optimism for happy, healthy days to come.

 

Alpine Grilled Cheese

Forget the artificial ingredients and cheese that looks like plastic. It’s time to enjoy a grown-up version of this lunchtime tradition. Go ahead, splurge on the best with local artisanal cheeses or European imports.

 

For each sandwich:

2 slices rustic or sourdough bread

Butter, at room temperature

1–2 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded

1–2 oz Emmental, cheese, shredded

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 Tbsp dry white wine (optional)

1–2 slices prosciutto

Pickled onions

 

1. Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread and place butter side down in a large skillet.

2. Put the cheeses in a bowl and toss to combine. Season with pepper, drizzle with the white wine and toss again. Put half of the cheeses on each slice of bread. Cover the pan and cook on medium-low until the cheeses have melted and the bread is crisp and golden.

3. Lay the prosciutto slice on top of one of the pieces of bread and scatter the onions on the other, put the two together, cut into wedges, and serve.

If you are making more than one or two sandwiches, lay the bread and cheeses out on a rimmed sheet pan, and bake in a 350° oven until the cheeses are bubbly and the bread is golden.

 

Quick Pickled Onions

1/2 Vidalia or red onion, halved lengthwise and then cut into thin wedges

1 sprig of fresh thyme

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

 

1. Put the onion and thyme in a clean glass jar. Put the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a saucepan. Stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve, bring to boil over medium-high heat.

2. Pour the hot pickling liquid into the jar with the onions. The liquid should cover the onions. If it doesn’t, add equal parts of vinegar and water. Let the onions sit for at least 20 minutes, or cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Refrigerate leftover onions in the pickling liquid and try them on any and all of your favorite sandwiches.


To check out more recipes like this please see page 65 in the Woodstock Spring 2021 digital edition.  

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