MY FIRST memories of sandwiches are of warm, crisp, buttery brown triangles of white or whole-wheat bread filled with delectable melted yellow cheese.
As Mother taught me, it was always about the ingredients, not complexity; freshness and contrasts, not quantity. But it was also about generosity.
Increasingly, local vendors and grocers are stocking high-quality, imported cold cuts and cheeses. If I plan to serve a panini lunch, a good panini iron is ideal, but two cast-iron pans - one for cooking, one for pressing - also work well.The more I think about sandwiches, the hungrier I become.
More sandwich recipes are available at marthastewart.com/ martha-sandwiches.
2 loaves ciabatta, halved
horizontally and quartered
1 loaf whole-grain bread, cut into slices 1/2 inch thick
Pesto (recipe follows)
Olive Tapenade (recipe follows)
1/2 pound each thinly sliced
bresaola and coppa
1/2 pound each thinly sliced smoked mozzarella, fresh mozzarella,
provolone, fontina and ricotta cheeses
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 head radicchio, leaves separated
1 bunch fresh basil
1 jar (3 ounces) best-quality
1 bunch fresh oregano
Lemon wedges, for squeezing
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Set out ingredients for guests to build panini. Heat a panini press. Brush each sandwich with oil, and place in press. Grill according to manufacturer's instructions.
Alternatively, heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Place a sandwich in skillet, and top with a smaller heavy skillet. Cook, flipping once, until bread is golden brown and cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to oven to keep warm. Repeat. Serves 10 to 12.
3 cups packed fresh basil, torn into pieces
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper
Puree basil, nuts, garlic and 1/2-teaspoon salt in a food processor. With machine running, slowly add oil, and process until smooth. Stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate up to 1 day. Makes 1 cup.
2 cups black olives, such as Kalamata, pitted
4 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pulse olives, anchovies, parsley and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Stir in oil. Cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days. Makes 1 1/4 cups.
CRAB SALAD SANDWICH
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon creme fraiche
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon minced chives
Freshly ground peppercorns,
8 ounces lump crabmeat
4 leaves red-leaf lettuce
1 avocado, thinly sliced
8 slices brioche, toasted
Mix lemon juice, salt, creme fraiche, shallot and chives. Season with pepper. Fold in crab. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Divide lettuce, avocado and crab among 4 bread slices. Sandwich with remaining slices. Makes 4 sandwiches.