Food tastes better when eaten outdoors. That’s just a universally known scientific fact.
Some of my fondest memories have involved food being enjoyed outdoors. Whether gathered around my dad’s grill listening to the sizzle of his famous chicken or ribs, twirling spaghetti on the patio of my favorite restaurant, or the simple pleasure of a homemade sandwich and a glass of wine on a blanket in the park.
This beautiful sandwich is absurdly easy to make. Simple assembly of high-quality ingredients is the name of the game. No cooking required. Start with a fresh loaf of ciabatta bread. Ciabatta is crusty on the outside, and soft and pillowey on the inside. A great sandwich bread. Cut the ciabatta in half horizontally and slather both sides with homemade pesto. Next, layer on salami, soppressata, prosciutto, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, asiago cheese, and fresh basil leaves.
Turning this delicious sandwich into a delicious PRESSED sandwich involves wrapping the whole loaf tightly with plastic wrap, and then weighing it down in the refrigerator overnight. This compresses all the ingredients together and infuses the flavors. The next day, trim the edges, wrap in parchment paper, and tie with a cute string (don’t ever skip that last step). You now have a gorgeous, scrumptious, perfectly mess-free picnic/outdoor sandwich. Fond food memories await.
〈 These boys gobbled them right up! 〉
- 1 loaf of ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally
- 1 cup homemade pesto, you can use store-bought if you would like
- 8 slices of salami*
- 8 slices of soppressata*
- 4 slices of prosciutto
- 12 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained, and sliced
- 2 balls of fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 8 thin slices of provolone cheese
- 8 thin slices of asiago cheese
- 12 basil leaves
*My slices were very large, if you are using smaller slices, double the amount.
Directions: Slather pesto on both sides of the bread. Lightly coat the bottom half to prevent the bread from becoming soggy. Using the bottom half as the base, build the sandwich by layering salami, soppressata, prosciutto, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, provolone cheese, asiago cheese, and fresh basil leaves. Top the sandwich with the upper half of the ciabatta. Tightly wrap the sandwich in saran wrap. Place on a tray large enough to hold the sandwich, (I used a cookie sheet). Place cookie sheet in the refrigerator and weigh it town with a heavy object. I used a large cast iron grill pan topped with a dutch oven. Allow sandwich to compress overnight. The following day, remove sandwich from the refrigerator and cut off about 1/2 inch of sandwich from all sides. I cut the edges while the sandwich was still wrapped in the saran wrap. This kept the sandwich together while cutting. Cut whole sandwich into 4 separate/evenly sized large sandwiches, or 8 small sandwiches. Wrap in parchment paper, and tie with a cute string. Refrigerate until you are ready to pack up your picnic or serve the sandwiches.