Wonderful cafeteria in the heart of Florence. Eyes wide shut, the weather is hot, we hear chatting Italians with their perfectly sculptured muscular torsos. The waiter invites you to sit at a table located on the outside, on the main square. We order a cup of strong aromatic espresso, take off gently our sunglasses and see the waiter bringing us this perfect Italian sandwich with grilled peppers, salami, pesto and mozzarella. Mmm heaven on earth!
I have good news, even though I like this vision, you do not have to go that far for this real Italian taste, just get all the ingredients at your local store and voilà! Make these beauties and switch on some Italian soap opera to get the atmosphere going :)
These sandwiches are silly-easy to make and will satisfy your appetite for a day on the beach or family picnic. Where lies the secret, and how do they differ from other sandwiches? Well, first of all they contain high-quality ingredients, we used real Italian salami, deli pesto, Italian balsamic vinegar etc. Second you weigh them down in the refrigerator for minimum of 6 hours or even better overnight. This helps to compress all the ingredients together, infusing all the delicious flavours - once you take it out of the fridge (30 minutes before consumption) it will be very easy to cut them into desired pieces. As it was just two of us for lunch I cut these in half. If you prefer them hot, just unwrap and place in the oven, like paninis for 15 minutes. That is how we ended up consuming them and think they were even more delicious that way. Original recipe and inspiration comes from this blog: www.seasonsandsuppers.ca
for 2 people:
- 2 ciabatta breads (each around 20cm long)
- 200g sliced Italian salami
- 2 long red sweet peppers
- 2 white mozzarellas
- 150g rocket salad leaves
- 4 tsp green pesto
- olive oil (or butter)
- few drops of balsamic vinegar
- salt, pepper
Set your oven to 200°C. To roast the red peppers, cut top parts and slice them in halves, place them on tray laid with baking sheet and grill them for 15 minutes (you want them to be a bit blackened on top). Remove from the oven and immediately place the peppers in a plastic bag, close the bag and place it in a fridge for half an hour. Remove and peel blackened skin, discard it. Cut into strips and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Slice the bread horizontally and lay each half on a work surface. Bottom part spread with butter (or drizzle with olive oil), however butter is better here as it will help to keep ciabattas dry. Place a layer of red peppers. Top with a layer of cold meats (3, 4 layers), we used 100g on each of them. Slice mozzarellas, dry them on the paper towel, place slices on salamis, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add few drops of balsamic vinegar. In a bowl mix rocket salad leaves with green pesto, spread on mozzarella. Top with top slice of ciabatta. Wrap them tightly with plastic wrap, place in the fridge. Place a heavy skillet on top of sandwiches to apply weight (or use something heavy that will press the sandwich evenly, like some large cans). Refrigerate at least 6 hours or ideally, overnight. We left them for 6 hours and they were grand!
When ready to serve, remove from plastic wrap. We trimmed the sides and ends of the sandwiches to make neat sides and to enjoy the beautiful colours. Than I used non greasy paper and cut (9 cm in width) long stripes and wrapped each sandwich in them, finishing off with cute strings. As Italians would say - Buon appetito!