True story: I spent many law-school lunch hours scavenging for leftover scraps from the “free lunch” at events on campus put on by law firms. Often, I was rewarded with a cold slice of bad pizza. Sometimes, I scored something fancy — like a chicken wrap. I know you do it, too. I see you over there, making off with your two egg salad sandwiches.
Given my astronomical tuition fees (yes, even 10 years ago they were high), I feel zero remorse over my looting ways. In retrospect, though, I could have done a little better for myself in the bring-my-own-lunch department. But it’s not too late for you. So, here: make this sandwich. It’s delicious and the ingredients for one sandwich won’t cost you more than $5.
You can also edit it down from a whole loaf to a single ciabatta bun for an individual serving, and eat it right away. It travels well to group picnics and parties. But the true genius of this sandwich comes from the overnight pressing, which allows all the flavours to meld and soak into the bread. And by doing so, you finally get to make use of your heaviest law textbooks — as weights. (Constitutional, I’m looking in your direction.) Note: you have to be okay with putting your Constitutional Law book in the fridge overnight, but I know you only use the summaries anyway.
Pressed Italian Picnic Sandwiches
Makes 3–4 sandwiches (or 7–8 appetizer portions)
- 1 large loaf of ciabatta bread
- 300–400 g of your choice of Italian cold cuts (salami, mortadella, capicollo, prosciutto)
- 5 slices provolone cheese, or 2 fresh bocconcini or buffalo mozzarella balls, sliced
- Store-bought pesto
- Roasted red peppers
- Handful of arugula or baby spinach
- A large cutting board and a heavy weight (the Criminal Code or a cast-iron pan will do)
- Slice the bread in half lengthwise. Spread pesto generously on both sides.
- Layer the peppers, cold cuts, cheese and greens on the bottom half of the bread.
- Top with the other half of the bread and wrap tightly in plastic. Place a cutting board evenly on top, and put your weight on top of the board. Make sure there’s even pressure across the whole sandwich.
- Eat immediately or allow it to press
in the fridge for at least an hour. Ideally, leave it overnight. Cut into desired-sized pieces and serve. Wrapped tightly, sandwich portions will keep two to three days in the fridge.