It’s picnic weather somewhere, right? Because I have been anxiously waiting to share these Pressed Italian Sandwiches with you. Not that you should wait for a picnic to make them, because they are pretty much my favorite sandwich ever. They just happen to be the perfect picnic sandwich, since they’re loaded with meat and cheese, and everything is squeezed into a neat, compact package.
I’ve also served these sandwiches at parties and buffets and they’re always a huge hit. The best part is, they need to be made the ahead, which leaves you free for other things when you’re hosting guests. These sandwiches keep well for 3-5 days in the refrigerator, maybe even longer, and the leftovers are great for packing in lunches. You can use any kind of Italian cold cuts and sliced cheeses you like in the recipe. If I’m serving a crowd, I usually make two slightly different versions. The possibilities are endless, so have fun with it!
- 1 ciabatta loaf
- 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
- 1/2 pound sliced Italian cold cuts (salami, pepperoni, sopressata, mortadella, capocolla, prosciutto, etc.)
- 1/2 pound sliced Provolone cheese
- 1 cup fresh spinach, arugula or basil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Finely chopped olives (black or green)
- Roasted red peppers
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Roasted garlic
- Slice ciabatta loaf in half horizontally.
- Spread desired amount of pesto over the bottom half of the bread. Don't over-saturate the bread.
- Layer the Italian meats over the pesto. Top with the sliced cheese.
- Layer the spinach or other greens over the cheese.
- Optional toppings can be added to either the top or the bottom of the sandwich.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Place the top half of the loaf over the sandwich fillings.
- Wrap the sandwich thoroughly with plastic wrap. Place a heavy cutting board or other flat object on top of sandwich and weight it down with a 2- to 4-lb. weight (such as a cast iron skillet or six-pack of soda).
- Let the sandwich sit for at least 6 hours, but preferably over night.
- Unwrap, cut into 8 pieces and serve.
Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from Sunset Magazine.