Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The BIG Bread Sandwich

If I could have only one cook book (perish the thought!), it would be The Silver Palate. My original copy is well worn. I saw the 25th anniversary edition and initially I was confused. 25 years. Since what? It can't be 25 years that I've had this book. Quick calculation... OMG!! It has been twenty-five years. Granted, I was a sprite when I purchased my first copy, but still. The new edition is updated with color photos, and the familiar and wonderful illustrations of the original are still there, too.

I feel like I am sharing some secrets when I say that many of my "go to" recipes are from this book- gravlax, ceviche, carrot and orange soup, pasta puttanesca, pate brisee, sour cream apple pie, blackberry mousse- just to name a few off the top of my head. I think I have such a fondness for this book because it was in the kitchen (along with a few other select books) of the first real restaurant I worked in. I was learning to cook at the time- this was even before culinary school- so I was really learning!! Many of the recipes we used at the restaurant were straight from the SP with modifications made only in terms of quantity and a la minute preparations. I find, still, that I have very few notes of changes to recipes after all these years.

I have always been intrigued by The Big Bread Sandwich. The first edition has a wonderful illustration, which has been replaced by an enticing color photo in the second edition, and it was finally too hard to resist. Plus, I had the great excuse of throwing a brunch for Kevin's birthday, and there were plenty of willing eaters- see Lila above, she's always in the center of the action. Unfortunately, none of Kevin's family made it for the celebration.

The bottom layer is sweet and hot Italian sausage (12 sausages) with green and red (and yellow and orange) bell peppers (7), and sliced black olives (1 c). The middle is prosciutto (1 lb. in very thin slices), fontina (8 oz. in very thin slices), arugula (2 c) and tomato (no tomato for Kevin's version), with a garlic anchovy dressing. The top is Eggplant Livia with seasoned ricotta cheese. It is fabulous.

Included is a recipe for the BIG loaf of bread. I'm getting more and more confident with yeast breads, so I dove in and made it. It was terribly exciting to make the enormous loaf- it barely fit on the largest sheet pan I own!! It would be completely reasonable to purchase a good loaf of bread and enjoy the sandwich all the same, see Dan's sandwich below made with a tasty purchased loaf and the tomatoes included, that he's made twice already!

The sandwich is delicious and the idea is great. Purchase yourself a copy of the Silver Palate and get to work exploring all the wonderful recipes!

Here's Kevin blowing out the candles on his birthday cakes (carrot and German chocolate). Dixie dog must have elbowed Lila out of the way to get the front row seat!
(I'll post separately about his birthday present-thanks again to everyone who contributed. XOXOXO to all!!)


Eggplant Livia
1 lb. eggplant
1 c olive oil
2 dried red chiles
2 crushed garlic cloves
1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 T oregano
1 T basil
1 c oil for frying
Mix oil, chiles, garlic, vinegar, herbs.
Slice eggplant into 1/4 rounds. (You can salt it if you want. I don't.) Fry slices in oil in batches until brown. Drain. Add to marinade and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temp to make the sandwich.

Seasoned ricotta
1 c ricotta
1/4 c grated pecorino
2 T parsley

Garlic Anchovy Dressing
3-4 anchovy fillets
1-2 cloves garlic
1 T dijon
1 yolk
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 c olive oil

BIG Bread
4 c 110 degree water
2 T molasses
2 pk active dry yeast
11-12 c A.P. flour
2 1/2 T salt
3 T olive oil

Mix the water and molasses, sprinkle yeast over to proof. Start adding flour. Add salt once about 1/2 the flour is mixed in. Get about 10 c flour mixed in and turn out to knead dough, mixing in remaining flour. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
Oil a big bowl, let dough rise covered until doubled. Punch down, knead 5 minutes. Let rise again until doubled. Shape dough into a large oval loaf and put on cornmeal dusted baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled- it should be about 12 x 14. Rub the risen dough with flour. Slash the top. Bake 15 minutes at 450. Reduce to 375 and bake another half hour.

To assemble:
Cut the loaf into 4 slices. Put the sausages and peppers on the bottom layer and drizzle with some of the cooking oil. Sprinkle with s&p, oregano and fresh parsley and black olives. In the next layer dress the bread, then top with prosciutto, fontina, arugula and tomato and drizzle the dressing on top, too. Add more s&p, oregano and parsley. Smear the seasoned ricotta on the top layer, cover with the eggplant and drizzle with the marinade. You need to wrap it and put in between a couple cookie sheets and weight it for a few hours before you serve it. Let it come up to room temp for full flavor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greer Says
"I can honestly say, that was one of the tastiest "samachiz" I have ever eaten. The bread was great, requiste amount of nooks and crannies to soak up the flavors and sturdy enough to withstand all the ingredients. I am thinking of making a jamaican version,mmmm...".