Sometimes there's nothing better than a deli sandwich to break the monotony and time restrictions of standard dinners. Austin doesn't really have delis - at least not like Pittsburgh, or the general Northeast for that matter. And while there are some very decent hoagie joints, if you really want a great sandie, it's best to just make it yourself.
Quay came up with this Italian sandwich idea. It's like a charcuterie board on bread! The awesome parts include a homemade tapenade and roasted red pepper.
Let's Get Cooking
Start by charring a red bell pepper on the stovetop. Electric or gas will do the trick. Don't worry if it starts to smoke, that means a great char is forming. After it's nice and black on all sides, move it to a bowl and cover. While it cools, the steam helps to separate the charred skin from the pepper. Finish peeling with your hands.
Tapenade is really easy to make, and there are many variations. Ours didn't include anchovies simply because we didn't have any on-hand.
It's good to start with a small amount of each ingredient and adjust as needed.
We had to add more green olives to balance the capers and an additional drizzle of EVOO.
Construct the Sandwich
Now for the fun part. I always liked putting together sandwiches. It's kind of therapeutic, and the best part is building it. For this one, we started by spreading tapenade on one slice and drizzling EVOO on the other. You want to use an oil with flavor here. Give a crack of pepper or a pinch of Maldon if you can handle it.
I cut a few extra bread chunks for Leela. She'd rather have the prosciutto, but that's not an option.
Add some sliced roasted red pepper on top of the tapenade and use a finger or spoon to press the olive oil into the bread.
Now, add some Sopresatta. Slice it in half if needed. Look at that placement.
Genoa salami is next! Cut it or tear it and add a layer to the sandwich.
We're not done yet. Add a nice bunch of Prosciutto to that thing and don't look back. I told you it's like a meat tray on bread!
Mozzarella is next. Chunk that shiz up - no thin slices. You want the flavor to cut through the meats.
To finish things up, crack some black pepper on top of the cheese and add basil leaves - don't skimp.
Oh man, look at that thing! It's as colorful as it is flavorful.
Ok, one last pic. This was a couple of days later and used a wheat grain bakery bread. Equally delicious, but I prefer using my homemade slices.
🐶 Leela Storm's Suggested Pairings
- 🎵 Van Halen - Top Jimmy
- 🍷 Pino Grigio
- 🍺 West Coast IPA
- 🍸 Vokda Martini, Up with a Twist
🍽 Kitchen Critique
Sandwiches were a big part of my life growing up. Bologna, turkey, chipped ham (shout out, Pittsburgh!), PB&J, grilled cheese, egg salad... you name it. But I never did Italian or other styles like this one. I think I thought: "If I want Italian, I'll go buy a hoagie."
Ah, regrets. But there's still time to change, and we've really started to enjoy making non-typical sandwiches at home. They're great for lunch or dinner, and we put whatever the hell we want on them. Meat and cheese are just a foundation.
The tapenade and soft roasted red pepper are standouts here. Both providing flavor blasts that pair so well with the meats and cheese. Basil does its thing and cuts through and the moz isn't lost based on its chunkiness.
The only thing missing, but not required, is lightly-dressed arugula.
- Can't really f@&k up a sandwich, but you do have the power to make it amazing. So do it.
- The fresher the bread, the better. Make or buy a nice loaf.
- Even if you don't like olives, try a tapenade - it's very different and delicious.
- Try different meat and cheese pairings.
- Give some bread chunks to your doggy - they'll love you for 3-5 minutes extra.