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Apr 24, 2007 08:48 AM

Julia's layered sandwich pressed with a brick recipe?

I remember watching her do this on TV back when I was a little cheflet. She hollowed out a big loaf, layered it with roast veggies, cheese, meat, oil and all sorts of goodness. Then she put it in a pan or plate and put a big brick wrapped in foil on top.

It's all hazy, and I want to make it...but I forget exactly what she did. I've looked all over online, and can't find it anywhere. I can make it up, yeah, but I want the authentic Julia touch. Beyond doing the voice as I put it together, what else can I do?

Is it a "torte"?


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  1. I remember searching for this last month and used the term "pressed" sandwich. I know that there is one on the martha stewart website. good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: alex8alot

      I want Julia's recipe only! I searched "pressed", "Flattened" and more, and have not found it.!

      1. re: Diana

        sorry! I hope you find it, and please share if you do! I would like to see how special this is.

      1. re: chowser

        No, it wasn't a muffaleta, it had no olive salad- and it was pressed for a night or a whole day.

      2. Try searching for pan bagna or pan bagnat -- you may not find Julia's recipe, but you might find something close --

        7 Replies
        1. re: alaughingdog

          you beat me to it! These make great picnic food, full of tasty italian goodies. Just be careful if you use mozzarella as it does leak a lot of liquid.

          1. re: alaughingdog

            That did it! HEre is what someone says is Julia's recipe (which is a LOT like a muffaletta, it DOES have olives!):
            For the vinaigrette:
            1 small shallot, minced
            1 Tbs red wine vinegar
            3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
            Salt and freshly ground pepper

            1 round of Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia or other round loaf*
            Extra-virgin olive oil
            About 6 leaves red-leaf lettuce, washed and dried
            8 oz Brie cheese, in 1/4" thick flat slices
            3/4 c black oil-cured olives, pitted and roughly chopped
            1 large fresh tomato, cored, thinly sliced
            2-oz can anchovies in olive oil**

            Special equipment:
            Plastic wrap; 2 cookie sheets or trays; a heavy pan or other weighty items for pressing the sandwich

            To make the vinaigrette, mix the shallot and vinegar in a small bowl, and gradually whisk in the oil with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

            Cut the bread horizontally into even top and bottom layers. Turn the top over, then drizzle olive oil all over the cut sides of both layers, using 2 or 3 Tbs of oil on each.
            Yes, tablespoons.

            Make layers of all the filling ingredients. First, completely cover the sandwich bottom with 5 or 6 lettuce leaves, then arrange the slices of Brie on top. Scatter the chopped olives and cover with the tomato slices in a single layer.

            Spoon about half the vinaigrette over the tomatoes, then separate the anchovy fillets and distribute evenly. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette and the oil from the anchovy can all over the filling. Finally, replace the top layer of the bread to close the sandwich.

            Wrap the sandwich well with several layers of plastic wrap and place on a cookie sheet or pizza pan or tray. Lay another tray on top of the sandwich and center some heavy items to press and flatten the loaf (a heavy pan and a 5-lb bag of sugar, for example).

            Place the weighted sandwich in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours or overnight. Before serving, remove the weight, unwrap the compressed sandwich, and let it come to room temperature. Cut into serving-size wedges or, as an hors d'oeuvre cut in thin parallel slices, and again into short, bite-size lengths. 1 large sandwich makes 8 large wedges or 24-hors-d'oeuvre-size pieces.

            *You don't want there to be too much bread, so a high round loaf is not ideal, the flat of focaccia works best
            **We are anchovy cowards and I just used tiny tiny squishes from a tube of anchovy paste, and so probably altered the true flavor. Yet it was still yummy!

            Other Notes:
            On TV, Julia Child, whose recipe this is, said that the people of Provence say it isn't a good sandwich unless the olive oil runs down your arms. I thought that was funny, but it gives an idea of the intent. That is the part of the world where bread salads with similar ingredients are enjoyed, so this almost seems like a portable bread salad, in that respect. Hope you enjoy this as much as we have.

            1. re: Diana

              You need alot more than just olives to be anywhere close to a muffelata. This sandwich doesn't even have one cold cut, let alone the variety a muffelata has.

              1. re: ESNY

                Well, no. But it DID have olives, which I forgot. Frankly, this sounds much better than a muffaleta.

                I can't wait to try it! I'm also going to riff on it by doing a similarly pressed sandwich with roast eggplant, zuccini, peppers, onions, olive oil, lentil salad, goat cheese and one other cheese.

                1. re: ESNY

                  Of course, you're right: it's nothing like a muffaleta. There IS nothing like a muffaleta.

                  Be that as it may, I've got the book open in front of me right now (Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home). Julia's notes on the recipe for Pan Bagnat suggest that, if you don't care for anchovies, you can substitute oil-packed canned tuna. And the intro to the recipe says,"...There are no rules about the filling, though, and you can add other vegetables, canned fish such as tuna, or sliced cold meats as you like..."

                2. re: Diana

                  She made this with Jacques Pepin, didn't she? I remember that show as well! But I swear there were more roasted veggies in there than your recipe says...

                  1. re: Diana

                    I saw Jaques and Julia make that on TV today and I didn't write down the recipe. Thanks to you and Goggle, I now have it.

                3. This recipe sounds great. I started making this type of sandwich after buying The New Vegetarian Epicure Cookbook. She uses garlic, olive oil, olives, tomatoes, basil and parsley leaves, onion, arugula, roasted bell pepper, vinegar, and s&p. Fresh mozz, or parmesan, or other cheese optional.
                  The thing is you can use just about any delicious things you have around in the filling and it is always so good.

                  This is what we make when we road trip because it is very easy to eat in the car (if you hold back a bit and make it less juicy than Julia recommends). It holds together well and also doesn 't mind if it gets a little crowded in the cooler. After all, you've just deliberately smashed it down, what harm will an orange on top of it do?

                  You've inspired me to make one soon, and this time I think I'll take Julia's advice and make it extra juicy.
                  This thread now has me craving panzanella. Come on, tomato season!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: xena

                    We have enjoyed for some years now a recipe from the Two Fat Ladies Cookbook (I think the first one) for a Hunter Sandwich that is along these lines. It is my own personal most-requested recipe everytime we bring it to a picnic, tailgate party, sailing day etc. It is an excellent description of the technique that you can then endlessly riff on. We have used filet, mushrooms, cheeses, horseradish-you name it...

                    1. re: LJS

                      You know, I don't think I've ever looked at their cookbooks! I'll be sure to hit the library for some fun. The ingredients you've listed sound wonderful. Filet and horseradish, mmmmm.

                  2. Hello, I am new to this site and have read the responses on Julia's layered sandwich...if you liked her sandwich you will love this baked layered torta. It is without a doubt the best of ANY sandwich hands down!!! you owe it to yourself to give this a go! It have flavour combinations that you don't get with anything else!

                    Gruyere and Roasted Vegetable Torta

                    2 ¾ cups all purpose flour 1 ½ tsp baking powder
                    1 ½ tsp salt ½ cup olive oil
                    ½ cup milk 2 eggs

                    In large bowl stir together flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk milk with olive oil and eggs. Pour all at once into flour, stirring until a soft dough forms and liquid is absorbed. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days.

                    ¼ cup olive oil 1 small onion, chopped
                    2 cloves garlic, minced 8 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and stemmed
                    Salt and pepper to taste 4 red peppers, sliced
                    2 zucchini 1 eggplant
                    1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
                    ½ lb Black Forest ham or smoked turkey, sliced
                    2 cups shredded Gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese

                    Heat 1 tbsp of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; cook onion and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Add spinach with a few pinches of salt and pepper; cover for 3 minutes or until wilted. Spoon into colander and press gently with spatula to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
                    Core and quarter peppers. Arrange skin-side up on a baking sheet. Broil for about 8 minutes or until skin is blackened. Let cool and peel skin away. Set aside. This could be done on the B-B-Q as well, if preferred.
                    Cut eggplant in ½ inch slices. Cut zucchini on diagonal in ½ inch slices. Brush with remaining oil and arrange on baking sheets; sprinkle with a little salt. Broil one tray at a time, turning once until golden brown and tender, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
                    Stir basil into cream cheese, set aside.
                    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
                    Roll 2/3 of the dough out to a 14-inch circle. Fit into a 9-inch standard spring form pan (2 ½ inches deep), gently pressing dough into corners.
                    Place half the ham in the bottom. Layer ingredients into pan, lightly pressing down each layer in the following order from bottom to top:
                    Half the spinach; all the eggplant; 1 ½ cups of the Gruyere; half the peppers; remaining ham; all the cream cheese (dropped by small spoonfuls); all the zucchini; remaining peppers; remaining Gruyere.
                    Roll remaining dough out to a 10-inch circle. Lay over top. Fold over edges of bottom pastry, pressing the two together. Pinch with thumb and forefinger to make a rim along sides of pan. Cut 4 vents in top of torta with small knife. Bake in bottom of 375 degree oven for ½ hour then turn down to 350 degrees for ¾ hour or until knife inserted in the vent and held for 30 seconds emerges very hot to the touch. Let cool for 30 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.

                    This is also very tasty served cold as a buffet course.

                    Serves 8 as a main course, 16 as a buffet.