Sometimes the best cooking requires no cooking at all. Tonight I put together some top notch sandwiches that took a total of 10 minutes. The secrets to accomplishing a sandwich that meets beef burgundy eye to eye in deliciousness is using at least one aged or cured product, a complimentary spread, and really good bread.
The aged/cured product I used was Prosciutto di Parma Crudo, brought home from our Italian class. If you are not familiar with this Italian meat, it is ham that is aged, and commonly cured – crudo, then sliced paper thin. The Prosciutto di Parma is regulated by the Italian government. In order to bare this title it must come from a certain pig, in a certain region, and prepared in a certain traditional manner. The result is very flavorful meat that is so soft it melts in your mouth, seriously.
The spread of choice was a pesto Genovese we prepared in class. This is one of the Liguria region’s most famous exports. Pesto is a sauce of basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and cheese prepared traditionally in a mortar and pestle (but in my kitchen – in a Cuisinart food processor with great success). To Ligurians a true pesto consists only of these ingredients, and specifically, from Genovese basil. Today in the US you can find pesto made from all sorts of herb, nut and cheese combinations.
The bread was bakery Italian semolina demi baguettes toasted in the oven. Some of the best I have found is fresh baked flash frozen baguettes from Fresh Direct. You reheat these baguettes straight from the freezer in the oven for 12 minutes. Viola!
- Slice baguette length wise to split open.
- Lightly spread pesto on the top and bottom of baguette (a little goes a long way).
- On the bread place a layer of baby arugula leaves topped with 2 slices of prosciutto followed by slices of plum tomato (garden fresh tomatoes in season are best).
- Finally a layer of fresh mozzarella slices (the no salt kind that comes in a ball).
- Put the top back on and with a bread knife, cut baguette into smaller sandwiches that are more manageable.
- Serve with an arugula salad with diced tomatoes, grated Parmesan, and balsamic vinaigrette and you have a lunch or dinner. Finish with a bowl of fresh berries.
Note: Order of ingredients is important to maintain the intergrity of the baguette. Also, do not overload the sandwich. Slice your cheese and tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick and use only 1 or 2 slices of prosciutto. I think one sin of sandwich making is the mile high sub – how do you get your mouth around that anyway!
This may sound too simple…. it is… but delicious! It also looks impressive and the colors are wonderful. Deep red tomatoes, pink-red prosciutto, bright green pesto and arugula leaves, and shining white mozzarella. To up the wow factor prepare your own pesto sauce. Basil is easy to find in the summertime, as well as great tomatoes. Thanks to California, if you get the inkling you can find basil year round today.
Nutrition Facts: 2 Slices of Prosciutto
- Calories: 70
- Total Fat: 5 gm
- Saturated Fat: 2 gm
- Protein: 8 gm
- Cholesterol: 20 mg
- Sodium: 730 mg
Nutrition Facts: 1 Tablespoon Traditional Basil Pesto
- Calories: 63
- Total Fat: 5.8 gm
- Saturated Fat: 0.8 gm
- Protein: 0.8 gm
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 198 mg
Nutrition Facts: 1 Oz Slice Fresh Mozzarella Ball
- Calories: 70 mg
- Total Fat: 6 gm
- Saturatd Fat: 2 gm
- Protein: 5 gm
- Cholesterol: 10 mg
- Sodium: 20 mg
A 6-inch section of Italian baguette is 200 calories, 2 gm fat, 0 mg Chol, 470 mg sodium, 7 gm protein, and 38 gm carbohydrates. Tomato slices and arugula add nutrition value but negligible calories and no fat, bonus. This brings a grand total of 403 Calories, 18.8 gm total fat, 4.8 gm saturated fat, 21 gm protein, 30mg cholesterol, and 1418 mg sodium to the sandwich.
This sandwich makes a low calorie, low fat (23%), low saturated fat and low cholesterol meal. Downside is the sodium. If you are watching your sodium, I would recommend using only 1 slice of prosciutto and keeping the rest of your meal very low in salt. A reduced sodium ham could also fill in for the prosciutto.