We’re entertaining a crowd next week. It will be a kind of “happy hour” sort of gathering, an after-work event that requires substantial snacks to go along with refreshing beverages. As the triple digit heat continues here, there will be more then a few guests taking a cool dip in the pool. I think these Italian-inspired layered sandwiches might be on the menu.These hearty sandwiches look terrific on a platter and are delicious. They are a combination of cold cuts, cheese, herbs, assertive greens, and roasted peppers. All these ingredients are layered onto ciabatta rolls, tightly wrapped, and chilled. They can be assembled a day ahead of time.
As you can see, there’s a lot to like in these sandwich rolls. You can certainly customize them to your tastes, but don’t forget to season well with good balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and fresh herbs. If your rolls are a little thicker than you like, simply pull out some of the crumb, and fill the space with more greens (that’s what I did and it worked really well).
You can also make a large version of the sandwich using an entire ciabatta loaf, then portion it into serving-size pieces. Follow the recipe only as a guide, and have fun with your own interpretation of this classic favorite. Have a party soon; summer days are numbered, and summer food is so good! Enjoy!
Italian-Style Layered Sandwiches
A hearty sandwich stacked with cold cuts, cheese, roasted peppers, herbs, and greens. Perfect for summer dining and entertaining.
- 2 ciabatta rolls
- 4 ounces assorted cold cuts, such as Genoa salami, Mortadella, capicolla, ham
- 2 roasted red peppers, torn into strips
- 4 slices mozzarella cheese (you can use fresh or regular mozzarella, or provolone)
- 2 handfuls fresh assertive greens, such as arugula (I used a combination of baby arugula and spinach)
- fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces if large
- olive oil
- best quality balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Split the rolls in half, pull out a little of the soft crumbs from the top half of each roll, and brush the rolls lightly with olive oil. Divide the filling ingredients and on each roll, layer them as follows: cold cuts, topped with roasted red peppers, then cheese slices, sprinkled with a little balsamic vinegar and topped with basil leaves. Pile on the greens (use enough to fill the hollows in the tops of the rolls) and sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the tops of the rolls on the sandwiches and press together firmly. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
When ready to serve the sandwiches, remove the plastic wrap and re-wrap in parchment paper using the "drugstore wrap". Slice each sandwich in half and arrange on a serving dish or platter. Decorate the platter with fresh basil sprigs and cherry tomatoes, if you like. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a day, re-wrapped in plastic wrap.
Wrap the sandwiches tightly after assembling, to allow all the ingredients to mingle flavors. Don't be too generous with the oil and vinegar; you don't want soggy sandwich rolls. Substitute ingredients to suit your tastes, just keep in mind the colors and textures as you layer the sandwiches. You can increase the recipe by making a large sandwich with a single loaf of ciabatta, or use a large round loaf. In either case be sure to remove a little extra crumb to provide more space for the ingredients and avoid a "too-bready" sandwich. These are perfect for carrying to a cookout or picnic too.