May 20, 2009 in Food

Brick sandwich packs a punch

J.M. Hirsch Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

A collection of flavors and juices blend together in this Overnight Brick Sandwich, perfect for a picnic.
(Full-size photo)

This brick sandwich – a chilled and pressed Italian-style sandwich jammed with flavorful ingredients – is perfect for picnics. It is easy to assemble, looks great and feeds a crowd with about the same effort it takes to make a regular sandwich.

Brick sandwiches are thus named because they spend the night being squashed by one or more bricks set on top of them. The result is a dense, intense sandwich in which the flavors and juices meld wonderfully.

While any size sandwich could be made this way, brick sandwiches typically are made using entire loaves of bread. After pressing, the sandwich is cut into individual portions. Large, crusty Italian loaves work best.

The coating of goat cheese on the inside of the bread acts as a moisture barrier to prevent the bread from getting soggy. Cream cheese or any spreadable cheese would work.

The fillings in this recipe are mostly Italian, but any combination of ingredients can be used. Just be sure to pat dry any high-moisture ingredients. If your bricks are too dirty for you to feel comfortable placing them in your refrigerator, cover them in foil.

Don’t have time for overnight flattening? A few hours are fine.

Overnight Brick Sandwich

1 large focaccia (about a 1-pound loaf)

1 4-ounce log goat cheese

5 tablespoons tapenade

1 15-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry

4 ounces sliced prosciutto

5 canned artichoke hearts, drained and thinly sliced

8 slices provolone cheese

8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and patted dry

8 ounces sliced salami

8 large fresh basil leaves

Slice the focaccia lengthwise through the center to split the loaf into halves. Pull out most of the soft insides of both halves of the focaccia and discard or reserve for another use. Spread half of the goat cheese over the insides of both focaccia halves, then top that with a thin layer of tapenade.

Arrange the red peppers on top of the tapenade on one half of the bread. Top the peppers with the prosciutto, then the artichoke hearts, half of the provolone cheese, the sun-dried tomatoes, salami, basil, then the remaining cheese.

Top the sandwich with the other half of the bread, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Set the sandwich on a large platter or plate, then carefully set 1 or 2 bricks (as many as will fit) on top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. When ready to serve, unwrap the sandwich and cut crosswise into slices.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 535 calories; 274 calories from fat; 30 grams fat (15 grams saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 79 milligrams cholesterol; 32 grams carbohydrate; 29 grams protein; 1 grams fiber; 2,278 milligrams sodium.

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