I like a good sandwich, but sometimes it’s hard to attain that lofty goal. As simple as a sandwich can be, making a perfect one can be pretty hard to come by.
Since SALLY came along, my mouth has become incredibly sensitive to hard, scratchy foods like potato chips, crackers and even toast.
Once, long ago, I worked in a little sandwich stop and learned how to make (in my mind) the ultimate sandwich — really any sandwich, but assembly is key. All the options were in front of me, I just had to take an order and assemble it. There were all the condiments you could ask for, assorted meats and cheeses, all the veggies you could combine to your heart’s content, plus a decent selection of bread choices.
For the longest time I was making these fantastic sandwiches for my brothers, cuz they’re awesome and happen to be boys with bottomless pits for stomachs, so I could also experiement with different sandwich combinations. Really, what it boils down to is how a sandwich is assembled and layering things in a proper order. That last part could just be a minor bit of OCD on my part.
Anyhow, having said all that, I think I have made an awesome sandwich that sort of gets around my sore-mouth issue. It still causes some discomfort to eat but it doesn’t hurt nearly as badly as when I eat a grilled cheese sandwich straight up.
Last night I was reading the recipe for How to Make The Ultimate Patty Melt on the Serious Eats website and one point just popped right out at me that made so much sense: toast the inner-facing side of each slice of bread in butter before you construct the sandwich. Not only does this warm the bread, giving the cheese a jumpstart on melting and ensuring that the two fuse firmly, but it also gives you an opportunity to incorporate more butter to the melt.
For a grilled cheese, I will definitely be employing that technique, but for now that’s far too much crispy-action going on for my poor mouth. So what did I realize instead? A ciabatta sandwich, soft and warm on the outside, paired with a crispy and melty cheesed inside, would make for an absolutely fantastic sandwich concept. The texture alone is mind boggling. As a side thought: I’m not a fan of panini sandwiches for some reason, they just don’t do it for me and I find that there’s something just not right about squishing something til it’s flat and dead. But this idea, I can certainly get my brain and tastebuds around.
So here’s what ya do:
Perfect Ciabatta Sandwich
* Get yourself a chunk of ciabatta and slice it horizontally so you get a top piece and a bottom.
* Butter the inside of both pieces generously and place them face down in a cold frying pan.
* Turn on the heat to medium and let them do their thing in their own sweet time until the bread is wonderfully crispy and golden brown.
* Remove the pieces of bread from the frying pan to a chopping board.
* Top each piece of bread with slices of cheese and throw them under the broiler until properly gooey & melty.
* Remove from broiler and top each piece of bread with your chosen deli meat before combining the two pieces of bread into sandwich form.
* You will now notice that your bread is perfectly soft & warm and when you bite into the sandwich, it’s perfectly hot and crisp. It’s almost as if you had potato chips hiding out in the middle of your sandwich, giving you that awesome textural contrast.