"The Big Bread Sandwich" from Silver Palate - a photo essay!
Almost 2 years ago there was a discussion about this recipe from the original Silver Palate cookbook - The Big Bread Sandwich is a multi layer/multi ingredient sandwich that is a tremendous crowd pleaser.
Here's a link to the original discussion
We were going to a cottage this week and would be a party of 10. I had made it several times before (once for this group and they were anxious for a return engagement). This time we photographed the "journey" so to speak - so I thought I'd post pics for those interested in making it.
First, the bread. The SP recipe includes a a recipe for the loaf of bread itself - I did it the first time I made it but found it unnecessary to repeat that. Also - by trial and error we decided the best style of bread is an Italian loaf that is a giant doughnut - that way the slices of sandwich are less bready.
Our neighbour owns a wonderful Italian bakery in Toronto and I asked him to make a loaf approximately 50% larger than usual - Picture #1 - the bread at the beginning.
We knew the best way to tackle the loaf was A) to cut it in half and B) to freeze it (to make cutting the layers easier). Picture #2 - the loaf cut into half and then into 3 slices for the layers. Note about cutting the layers - as you can see the layers aren't perfect - it's not like cutting a cake. We sometimes have to patch a bit and I even had "back up" bread in case some of the layers were a little thin in places. By the time you compress the sandwich it is very forgiving of the layering.
The first (bottom) layer is covered with a ricotta/parmesan mixture and then covered with spiced eggplant (recipe also in SP - I have used jarred eggplant as well). Here I also added some small artichokes I had pickled - Picture #3
The next layer of bread is added and then "Garlic Anchovy Dressing" (from the same SP - basically a caesar like dressing) is spread generously on this layer of bread and then sliced prosciutto (Pic 4)
To Be continued - I think I'm hitting the maximum size here
The next layer after the Fontina is arugula and various fresh herbs, finished with sliced black olives - but it was at that precise moment I remembered that I had cut the loaf into 3 layers (not 4 as the recipe calls for) and that I usually combine the sausage/pepper combination on the FIRST layer, with the eggplant. Note to self - when you only make a recipe every few years, mark your changes in the cookbook!
So.....off comes the new layer and we add the sausages/peppers to the first layer (it's an interesting step that demonstrates how malleable the whole sandwich is - it's easy to deal with as you construct it)
Pic 7 shows the sausages going back onto the first layer and the other half with the arugula in place. Pic 8 is the 3 layers all completed, with the sliced black olives on top and additional garlic dressing is added to the top layer of bread.
Then we wrapped it very tightly in plastic wrap (it compresses very easily) and put it in a cooler with weights on top (truth be told - beer and wine!) It needs to sit for a few hours to compress.
Here is the sliced version - it was delicious!
Half of this loaf (which was admittedly huge due to my neighbour) served 10 for lunch the first day - I expect the rest was eaten today!
It's a fun, showy recipe that is admittedly finicky but if you follow the recipe it will work out!