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Jul 20, 2011 12:23 AM

Spicing up the sandwich?

So I'm seeing this new guy and it's his birthday this week, I want to make him a nice semi-fancy dinner to celebrate. His favorite kind of food is a sandwich, or anything sandwich style (he counts burritos and calzones as "sandwichy"). Like I said, I want it to be kind of on the fancier side, so I'm wondering if any of you have interesting suggestions of a more unusual or upscale sandwich recipe. I'm totally new to this, just started eating sandwiches last year! Any suggestions welcome. Thanks! :)

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  1. Definitely focus on quality of ingredients, especially starting with good bread. Is he a big meat eater? Maybe slices of seared filet with sauteed onions and mushrooms and blue cheese on a nice ciabatta? Or if you want something more casual, a cubano is always delicious (and hard to get a good one in restaurants).

    Oh, or a banh mi!

    1. Philadelphia is renowned for the hoagie (hero, sub, etc. in other locals). Get a nice crusty long roll, slice it almost in 2 lengthwise. Get some thinly sliced capocollo (often misspelled as capocoli, capicola, gabagool, and other bastardizations), some thinly sliced prosciutto, thinly sliced Genoa salami, thinly sliced provolone, shred some Romaine lettuce, slice some tomato, slice some red onion, and have some extra virgin olive oil and dried oregano handy. Some form of pickled hot peppers often referred to as peperoncini (generic term in Italian for hot peppers) on the jar label. Build a sandwich (un panino imbottito) with these ingredients starting by drizzling the olive oil on 1 half of the roll and carefully sprinkle the oregano on the oil, add the shredded lettuce and the tomato slices, finally adding the cold cuts.

      Vivi, ama, ridi e mangia bene! Buon appetito! (Live, love, laugh and eat well!)

      BTW, i miei antenati non erano italiani, ma i nonni di mia moglie erano italiani.

      Translated: My ancestors were not Italians, but my wife's grandparents were Italian.

      ChiliDude, IBM (Italian By Marriage)

      4 Replies
      1. re: ChiliDude

        I love this style of sammich.
        I like to chiffonade fresh basil outta the garden for this. In place of peperoncini, I adore a mixed, hot giardiena in olive oil.

        1. re: porker

          same as I was thinking - fresh basil on many sandwiches is extremely good:-)

          1. re: porker

            Whatever floats your boat! Do you make the giardiena from scratch or do you buy it in a jar? If you make it, which vegetables do you include?

            1. re: ChiliDude

              I never made it from scratch - just the jar. But for sandwiches, I like it to be hot (with hot peppers) and in olive oil (not just pickled). I'm working on a jar of Aurora right now
              Even though I scoop the stuff out with a fork, enough hot oil comes along to whet the bread!

              chefathome below suggests ajvar spread. I love this stuff too (again the hot version). I'm about 3/4 done a Cedar brand jar right now.

        2. The sharp Italian or cubano recommended above are outstanding recommendations but for me my "celebration" sandwich would be a muffuletta if you can get, (or are up to making), the roll. I agree with katecm that a good sandwich starts with a good bread or roll.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ithimis

            A muffuleta was what I immediately thought of also. Here's a link to the original recipe as written by Marie Lupa Tusa, the daughter of the originator :


            Easy to make, tasty and always a hit. Go to an Italian market to get the freshest and best of ingredients, including the bread.

            A tossed salad ,as another poster mentioned, and his favorite dessert and you have a party...

            1. re: Gio

              Another vote for a Muffuletta. Make it a party. It feeds a crowd.

          2. Slow roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, salt and pepper on country bread, grilled. Serve with a nice salad of greeens with nectarine slices and procciuto. All recipes can be found in Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking.

            1. How about a nice tri-tip on ciabatta bread. As katecm says with sauteed mushrooms and onions.
              Or if he is into the deli style sandwiches a nice roastbeef with everything--check a deli menu on line for all the trimmings.

              Now on the other hand there are individual beef wellingtons that are amazing and sandwich "like" as they are breaded and then tender and amazing on the inside, with a nice bottle of wine (or stout), a twice baked potato and a salad.