Valentine’s day is right around the corner. What could be better than to make the perfect sandwich for your loved one’s lunch. It is among the most intimate of gifts to put some of his or her favorite food in the form of a sandwich. Of course, your love does not have to be limited to one person. You can make a sandwich large enough for the whole family to share. As this sandwich has a long-cooked, luxurious flavor, they may think you have labored over it for a long time, but the cooking is actually little, or non-existent. This is what I did…
I started by grilling some vegetables. You may use your barbecue or any stove top grill. I grilled mine with my panini press on high for 5 minutes to get some caramelization.
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, cut in large squares
- 1 green bell pepper, cored and cut in large squares
- 12 colossal olives, cut in halves
- 1 white onion, peeled and sliced horizontally, keeping the rings together
*To make things quick and easy for you, you may also use roasted peppers in a jar, olive tapenade, and garlic oil.
- 1 loaf rustic round or square Italian bread
- 4 to 6 slices prosciutto
- 3 to 4 slices lite provolone cheese
- Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Starting with the bread, I preferred rustic Italian bread with a hard crust for this job. Using a round or square loaf gave me a wider surface to lay down the stuffing.
Assembling the sandwich was easy. I began by slicing open the loaf horizontally. Next, I removed some of the soft part of the bread inside the dome to generate space for my stuffing. Then I brush the inside with balsamic vinegar and set aside.
I kept the soft part of the bottom-half of the bread so that it could absorb any flavorful dripping from the stuffing, cutting down on any mess and adding even more flavor when it was pressed. I then spread some pesto on that bottom half.
From there on, it was just a matter of layering the ingredients in the following order: olives, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, onion, prosciutto and cheese.
Then I recapped the base with the dome. Next, I wrapped the sandwich with some parchment paper and placed the sandwich in the 2 inch deep baking dish. I stacked another identical baking dish on top, with the base pressing flatly and evenly onto the sandwich. Then I placed a 3 pound object, such as a brick or a heavy book inside the top baking dish. Then I placed it in the refrigerator and waited for the magic to begin.
I left the sandwich in the refrigerator overnight. (You must do it for at least 3 hours.) During this time, the sandwich underwent a transformation. The combined flavors of the stuffing generated an umami that made this sandwich unforgettable.
To prepare a lunchbox, I cut the sandwich into a serving portion. To enhance the flavor even more, you may wish to toast the crust slightly again. I toasted mine with my toaster oven for 3 minutes to get that slight crunch, and it was great. To add an extra touch, you may wrap each portion with parchment paper and pair it up with some sweets or fruit; or maybe even add a valentine note to make the lunchbox special for the occasion. To enhance the aroma, tug a tiny rosemary sprig (for remembrance) into the lunchbox. I am pretty sure your loved one will feel very special.
If you have creative ways to make this sandwich your way, please don’t hesitate to share it with us by leaving a comment.
Happy Valentine!Pin It