Tag: sandwich

A Mediterranean Sandwich with Zucchini, Pesto and Olives

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

The past few days have been a pleasant break from my daily duties, my mother came to visit! I decided to take some time off for the long walks through the city which both of us love so much. We started with a beautiful place called Clärchen’s Ballhaus which opened more than 100 years ago, in 1913. It’s a restaurant/ dancehall where people still meet for Sunday tea dance. When we entered the room the sound of Samba, Waltzes and Tangos filled the air and the faces of the dancing couples seemed lost in nostalgic escape, it felt like a different world!

There’s also a gorgeous mirrored ball room on the first floor which has quite a morbid charm, it doesn’t sparkle with its original glory anymore. The room was heavily damaged in the war and it was used to store coal until 2005. The mirrors are dull and broken, the decorations and chandeliers on the ceiling can’t hide the strains of the past years. It’s a forgotten place, a remnant of Berlin’s party days from a century ago. When we left the building and its faded light we stepped right into the bright afternoon, we felt like kids who found an abandoned house.

Our next stop was the Museum Island, a group of beautiful and renowned museums on a little island in the Spree river. One of my favourite Berlin buildings is the Bode-Museum, when I first visited it many years ago I instantly fell in love with it and with the little bridge that leads to its entrance. The round building is a classic beauty, majestic but not intimidating. It keeps a stunning collection of marble sculptures in a light-flooded room, the folds and faces cut into the white rock almost seem alive. Our walk ended in front of this museum, at a bar outside on the river bank. We sat down in deck chairs, enjoyed Prosecco with Aperol and witnessed another one of Berlin’s tea dance scenes. On an open stage, couples danced Tango under the blue sky, forgetting everything and everybody around them. People stopped to watch them and I’ll never forget the beauty of this moment!

So much outdoor activity meant little time for the kitchen, we focussed on salads, snacks and sandwiches. We took it easy this time, no extensive cooking sessions. Usually, when my mother visits, we spend lots of time together in my kitchen but I needed a little break. Yesterday, we had a big family dinner at a restaurant with crayfish and asparagus and today, there’ll be oysters on our culinary schedule. In between, we fit in this little sandwich beauty, pure Mediterranean deliciousness stuffed in a juicy focaccia bun. I sautéed very thinly sliced zucchini and piled them up with ripe tomatoes, basil pesto and green olives. It tastes like summer!

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 A Mediterranean Sandwich with Zucchini, Pesto and Olives

For 2 sandwiches you need

focaccia buns, cut in half, 2
medium sized zucchini, cut into long, very thin slices, about 200g / 7oz
(this is best done with a cheese or vegetable slicer)
olive oil
salt
ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half, 6
green olives, cut in half, 6
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

For the pesto
fresh basil leaves 20g / 3/4oz plus a few small leaves for the topping
fresh mint leaves 2
pine nuts 1 tablespoon
parmesan, grated, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon for the topping
olive oil 50ml / 1/4 cup
salt

Mix the ingredients for the pesto in a blender and season to taste.

In a large heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and sauté the sliced zucchini in batches, spread the slices out next to each other. Cook them on medium-high for 1 minute, turn and season them with salt and pepper and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side until soft and golden but not dark. Take them out of the pan and keep them on a plate. Continue cooking the remaining zucchini slices, always adding a little splash of olive oil between batches.

Lay the zucchini on the bottom half of each bun and spread the tomatoes and olives on top. Sprinkle with pesto, coarsely crushed pepper and basil leaves. Close the bun and enjoy!

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 

zucchinitomatobasilpestosandwich8

Roasted Spring Onion, Parma Prosciutto and Taleggio Sandwich

Grilled Spring Onion, Parma Prosciutto and Taleggio Sandwich

I rediscovered an old cheese love: Taleggio! Although I used to enjoy this Italian dairy product from the Val Taleggio in the Lombardy quite often in the past, it hasn’t been in my kitchen for a few months, but now it’s back – preferably melted! A culinary phone call with my mother (our regular recipe exchange) brought it back to my mind. I went to the supermarket right the next morning to stock up on this slightly creamy cheese and started thinking about all the recipes I would use it for.

A new sandwich creation was first on my list, the milky cheese melting its soft yet distinct aroma onto Parma prosciutto and sweet-roasted spring onions. The result was juicy and hearty without being overpowering. Taleggio isn’t as harsh as one of my other sandwich-cheese-obsessions, the dominant raclette, its flavour is more subtle, almost fruity. It develops a little slower in the mouth but the impact is impressive nonetheless. I loved the look of this sandwich, I loved its taste and I had to have two of them!

Grilled Spring Onion, Parma Prosciutto and Taleggio Sandwich

Roasted Spring Onion, Parma Prosciutto and Taleggio Sandwich

For 3 sandwiches you need

rustic buns, cut in half, 3
small spring onions, cut in half lengthwise, 6
olive oil 1 tablespoon
sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
Parma prosciutto 6 slices
Tallegio cheese, sliced, 60g / 2oz

Set the oven to 220°C / 430°F (top / bottom heat).

In a baking dish, mix the spring onions with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until golden brown, mind that they don’t burn (about 20 minutes). Turn them after 10 minutes.

Lay the 2 slices of Parma prosciutto on the bottom side of each bun, cover with cheese and swirl the spring onions on top. Put under the grill for a few minutes until the Taleggio starts to melt. Sprinkle with pepper and close the bun. Enjoy!

Grilled Spring Onion, Parma Prosciutto and Taleggio Sandwich

 

Grilled Spring Onion, Parma Prosciutto and Taleggio Sandwich

 

springonionparmataleggiosandwich7

Orange Blossom Ricotta and Honey Kumquat Tartine with Pistachios

Orange Blossom Water Ricotta, Honey Kumquat and Pistachio Sandwich

A handful of little kumquats have been lying on the window sill for days challenging my kitchen creativity. They were the meager leftovers from my bean and pea salad and I didn’t really feel too inspired to use them. Although I really like these concentrated citrus fruits in combination with vegetables and dairy products, I’m not too fond of eating them on their own, so I had to come up with an idea which would fit their biting tanginess.

I thought of Malta, one of my biggest inspirations and answer to all sorts of open questions in my life. We just booked our flights for this summer, so it’s been on mind since I clicked the confirmation button on the booking page. All that Mediterranean food, our family, friends, snorkeling, the sun and blue sky above my head every day, just the thought of it makes me so happy! And we’ll have a very special guest over for a few days this summer which makes me even happier (and more excited if that’s even possible): Holly, my editor, will visit us from New York to learn more about the country and culture that I praise and write about so much. I’m as excited as a child to show her around, to introduce her to my perfect spots for snorkeling and food, our favourite beach bar for a glass of Ricard in the sunset, my Maltese mama’s and grannie’s kitchens in Msida. I want to walk though the old streets of Valletta and Mdina with her and show her where to enjoy the best pastizzi, qassatat and Spaghetti Rizzi (sea urchin pasta), so much that was once new to me many years ago and opened the door to a mentality that’s so different to mine yet filled my life with so much fun and love!

When I think of Malta, ricotta comes to mind, honey and orange blossom water, I just had to add my kumquats and a few pistachios (unsalted!) and all of the sudden I could see a new sandwich creation before my eyes. I whisked the dairy product with some honey, orange juice and blossom water and spread this sweet dip voluptuously on a slice of fluffy ciabatta bread. The citrus fruit came next, I caramelized the kumquats in honey to soften and sweeten their skin which made them a little sticky and juicy. The crunchy pistachios finished it off and gave this Mediterranean combination an oriental touch. It was as bright as the sunset in Malta and tasted wonderfully sweet and sour!

Orange Blossom Water Ricotta, Honey Kumquat and Pistachio Sandwich

Orange Blossom Ricotta and Honey Kumquat Tartine with Pistachios

For 4 small tartines you need

ciabatta bread, 4 slices
fresh ricotta 250g / 9oz
quality orange blossom water (preferably organic) 1 teaspoon
liquid honey 1-2 teaspoons plus 3 heaped teaspoons for the kumquats
freshly squeezed orange juice 2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons for the kumquats
kumquats, cut in half (lengthwise), 12
pistachios peeled and unsalted, roughly chopped, a small handful

Whisk the ricotta with orange blossom water, 1-2 teaspoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of orange juice, season to taste.

Heat 3 heaped teaspoons of honey in a heavy pan, add the kumquats and 2 tablespoons of orange juice and cook for about 2 minutes on high temperature or until the citrus fruits start to soften.

Spread the ricotta dip on the bread, lay the kumquats on top and sprinkle with the juices from the pan and the pistachios. Enjoy!

Orange Blossom Water Ricotta, Honey Kumquat and Pistachio Sandwich

 

Orange Blossom Water Ricotta, Honey Kumquat and Pistachio Sandwich

 

Orange Blossom Water Ricotta, Honey Kumquat and Pistachio Sandwich

 

orangeblossomricottakumquatpistachiotartine7

Goose Prosciutto and Bay Leaf Apple Sandwich

Goose and Apple Sandwich

With almost childish excitement I spotted a nice piece of goose prosciutto, a typical winter treat which couldn’t have found its way into my shopping basket at a better time. This Sunday will be the first Advent, the official start of all of my little christmassy traditions which I follow obsessively. Setting up the tree, baking lots of cookies and consuming more warm alcoholic beverages than I normally would are just some of them. Duck, goose and venison are to be found in my kitchen more often as well, another one of my seasonal habits.

Although it’s not December yet (or Advent), with today’s sandwich I welcome the time of joy and festive savouring. I start with a sandwich that combines the caramelized fruitiness from sour apples cooked in sugary butter with thyme and bay leaf with the smokey aroma of goose prosciutto. The meat is dark red with a strong smokey flavour, a bit too strong for my taste but still good. Its tenderness is topped with a thick layer of goose fat, you have to cut the slices really thin to enjoy it. It’s the same with duck prosciutto (which would also be fabulous on this sandwich) or smoked salmon, they should always be sliced as thinly as possible. At first, I wasn’t sure if this wintery composition between two slices of a French country loaf needed a further addition, but after the first bite I came to the conclusion that it’s all good!

Goose and Apple Sandwich

 

Goose and Apple Sandwich

Goose Prosciutto and Bay Leaf Apple Sandwich

For 2 sandwiches you need

white bread 2-4 slices (if you want a closed sandwich)
goose or duck prosciutto, very thinly sliced, 80g / 3 ounces
large sour apple, peeled, cored and thickly sliced, 1
butter 2 tablespoons
sugar 2 tablespoons
small bay leaf (stalk removed), chopped finely into tiny crumbs, 1
fresh thyme leaves 2 tablespoons

Melt the butter and sugar in a pan on high temperature, when it’s golden brown, add the apples, bay leaf and 1 tablespoon of thyme. Cook the fruit quickly for 1-2 minutes on both sides until golden and caramelized. Spread the apples and their juices on 2 slices of bread and put a few slices of the meat on top. Sprinkle with thyme.

Goose and Apple Sandwich

 

Goose and Apple Sandwich

meet in your kitchen | Pan roasted Bread with Sam Cremona’s Olive Oil and fresh Oregano

Pan roasted Bread with Olive Oil + fresh Oregano

A drive through the countryside, over barren hill tops and streets lined with blossoming pink oleander leads us to a tiny village in the north of Malta, Wardija. We stopped in front of a big, green iron gate in the shade of majestic pine trees, their woody smell caught my senses as soon as I left the car! It was around noon, the sun was at its peak and the air was shimmering. The scene was peaceful and silent when Sam Cremona opened the gate and welcomed us with a big smile on his face. He is a man in his sixties, his skin darkened by the Mediterranean sun, and I had been looking forward to this meeting for months!

Sam produces his own olive oil of extraordinary quality and managed to revive an ancient kind of Maltese olive, the Bidni olive. This species has been cultivated on the island for at least 2000 years but it was on the brink of extinction, just 25 trees were left when Sam started his research. He was looking for olive trees to plant on the 1 hectare of land that surrounds his beautiful country house and the story and quality of this olive caught his attention. It’s rich in antioxidants, the concentration is so high that the eggs of the olive fruit fly, one of the biggest pests for olive trees, never hatch in the fruits. The antioxidants also cause the oil’s tasty bitterness and its positive effect on the immune system.

Pan roasted Bread with Olive Oil + fresh Oregano

When Sam decided to work with the Bidni olive in 2002 he started a program called PRIMOProject for the Revival of the Indigenous Maltese Olive. He uses cuttings from the few old trees left on the island and grafts them onto other trees. 40 producers joined him, hundreds of trees have been successfully planted and a wonderful olive oil has come back to life. Sam had to set up his own small olive press as there was none on the island at that time. This allows him to pick the fruits and press them on the same day, another reason for the oil’s high quality. 

Sam invited me to his kitchen to taste two of his olive oils, one made of the Bidni olive and another that’s a little less bitter in taste. Both were wonderful, fragrant and rich. I could smell citrus fruits, pine trees, tomatoes and thyme, all embodied in these delicious Wardija Olive Oils! I was so impressed that I bought some of his oil straight away, if you would like to do the same or  if you would like some more information about Sam’s oil and project, you can contact him at matty@vol.net.mt.

Pan roasted Bread with Olive Oil + fresh Oregano

After tasting the oil we enjoyed some with a few slices of Maltese bread, one of the best ways to savor a good olive oil, but I already knew what I would use it for as soon as I got back home. I discovered a very simple, delicious little snack when I was in Sicily. Pan roasted bread, dipped in olive oil and cooked with fresh oregano leaves. When the bread is golden brown and crunchy on the outside, you take it out of the pan and sprinkle a little more oregano, black pepper and coarse sea salt on top. As always, when a recipe is so simple, choose the best quality bread, olive oil and sea salt you can get and pick fresh oregano leaves if possible. It’s divine!

Pan roasted Bread with Olive Oil + fresh Oregano

Pan roasted Bread with Olive Oil and fresh Oregano

For 4 people, you need a small loaf of sourdough bread, thickly sliced, olive oil and coarse sea salt to taste, crushed black peppercorns and a handful of fresh oregano. Brush the slices of bread with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with the herb, leave a few leaves to put on the bread when it’s done. Heat a heavy pan and cook the bread for a few minutes until golden brown on each side, sprinkle it with some salt, pepper and fresh oregano.

Pan roasted Bread with Olive Oil + fresh Oregano

 

Pan roasted Bread with Olive Oil + fresh Oregano

 

Pan roasted Bread with Olive Oil + fresh Oregano

 

Pan roasted Bread with Olive Oil + fresh Oregano

 

Pan roasted Bread with Olive Oil + fresh Oregano

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto with Rosemary and Thyme

Dried Tomato Pesto on Focaccia

7:1! That was a crazy night and I still can’t believe that Germany beat Brazil in the semi final with such an unbelievable result. After the 3rd goal I thought I was dreaming, and it went on, and on and on! Although I’m not the biggest football fan even I couldn’t keep my eyes off the game!

Time to calm down now, and nothing relaxes me more than a nice portion of carbohydrates! Luckily it’s Sandwich Wednesday again and after last weeks fruity and sweet roast apricots on Malin’s delicious turmeric bread I felt like something hearty again, a concentrated sun-dried tomato pesto with rosemary and thyme spread on an oily focaccia bun. I love this rich pesto just as much mixed with spaghetti, therefore I always prepare a big bowl to last for a few days and include at least one pasta meal. It’s great on pizza too and I’m sure there are a few other combinations you can come up with!

I always buy Maltese, Gozitan or Italian dried tomatoes. The ripe fruits taste so intense when they dry up under the Mediterranean sun, a bit oily and salty through the sea salt that helps the drying process. Before I throw them in the food processor I cook them in a bit of water for just a minute to soften them and rinse off excess salt. I purée them together with some pine nuts, garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme, olive oil and a bit of the salty liquid used to cook the tomatoes. Sometimes I add some fresh chili or cumin, basil is nice too! It’s one of these recipes you can easily adapt to your mood and taste!

Dried Tomato Pesto on Focaccia

 Sun-dried Tomato Pesto with Rosemary and Thyme 

For 4 people you need

sun-dried tomatoes, cooked in some water for 1 minute, 70g / 2.5 ounces
water used to cook the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons (if you use the pesto for a pasta dish add 6-8 tablespoons)
olive oil 50ml /2 ounces
pine nuts 20g / 1 ounces
garlic, 1 big clove
fresh thyme leaves 1 1/2 tablespoon plus more for topping
fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon

optionally
chopped fresh chili, a pinch of cumin or fresh basil

for sandwiches
4 focaccia buns or 1 loaf of bread

for a pasta dish
spaghetti 400g / 14 ounes

Purée the ingredients in a food processor to a smooth paste and spread on the bread or mix with spaghetti cooked in lots of salted water (al dente).

Dried Tomato Pesto on Focaccia

 

Dried Tomato Pesto on Focaccia

Grilled Peach and Camembert Sandwich with Rosemary

Grilled Peach + Camembert Sandwich

It’s cheese and fruit again! My last sandwich which combined these two flavours lies more than a month back. I had paired a creamy Gorgonzola with some of the first strawberries of the year, it was mild and milky but spiced up with a few pink peppercorns. Today’s sandwich is more intense, I used a ripe Roucoulons camembert from the Franche-Comté region in the East on France. Normally this cheese is quite mild but mine was already beyond that state. It was very ripe, so spicy and sharp that my boyfriend refused to eat it so I decided to put it under the grill. I went for white-fleshed galaxy (or donut) peaches, we call them vineyard peaches in Germany. They are so sweet and juicy, exactly what I needed as the peach season has just begun here and most of the other types aren’t rich in flavour yet (and wouldn’t have managed the combination with my intense camembert). I sprinkled some crushed black peppercorns on top to add some spiciness and a little fresh rosemary which became a bit smoky under the grill, it was good!

For 6 open sandwiches I used half a loaf of spelt ciabatta cut into thick slices, topped with 2 ripe peaches (sliced) and 125g / 4.5 ounces of Roucoulons camembert. I sprinkled each of them with a couple rosemary needles and put them under the grill for 1 minute until the cheese became a bit runny. We added the crushed pepper afterwards so that each of us could adjust the spiciness.

Grilled Peach + Camembert Sandwich

 

Grilled Peach + Camembert Sandwich

 

Grilled Peach + Camembert Sandwich

 

Grilled Peach + Camembert Sandwich

 

Grilled Peach + Camembert Sandwich

Gorgonzola, Strawberry and Pink Peppercorn Sandwich

Strawberry Gorgonzola Sandwich

My first strawberries this year find their place on a sandwich together with the creamiest blue cheese of all, Gorgonzola! This cheese gets its name from its place of origin, the commune of Gorgonzola in the province of Milan. It’s not as sharp and spicy as Roquefort or Stilton, it’s more on the mild side, perfect for when I feel like a soft cheese aroma. That’s what my strawberries needed, especially because their season has just begun here and they haven’t reached their full spectrum of flavours yet. To bring some spice into this combination I added a few pink peppercorns, also gentle enough for the red fruits.

This sandwich is so sweet and creamy that a fluffy ciabatta bread felt like the right choice. I spread Gorgonzola (about 100g / 3.5 ounces for 2 people) in thick lumps on a few slices of the fresh loaf, I didn’t want to spare on the milky creaminess before I covered the sandwiches with a couple slices of strawberries. Sprinkled with the pink peppercorns which are best when softly pressed before they join the red fruits, I felt a bit hesitant to take the first bite, this week’s sandwich really is beautiful!

Strawberry Gorgonzola Sandwich

 

Strawberry Gorgonzola Sandwich

 

Strawberry Gorgonzola Sandwich