Summer is upon us. June was a marvel, far cooler than is the norm, but the heavy, oppressive humidity has just arrived that signals full summer. It is not a good time to venture out of doors, except in the cool or morning, or late in the evening. This is certainly not the time of the year for heavy food, stew, gumbo or even a big roast, who wants it? So, what should be on your menu?
Sandwiches are not a bad idea, especially if you pair it with a nice salad. There are a ton of salads that can be made from scratch and in a hurry. Chicken salad (use a rotisserie chicken, mayo and add a little curry powder for something special), shrimp salad (boiled shrimp, mayo, chopped onions and maybe a little cream cheese if you like), and pasta salad (pasta and olive salad is my favorite recipe) are all good and simple salads to serve on a hot day.
There are also lots of traditional sandwiches that can be gussied up. Mortadella is the precursor of American style baloney, but much better. It is often studded with pistachio, and is delicious on a good crusty baguette, with a little spicy mustard (I like the fiery hot German-style mustard), maybe a little crisp lettuce and even a pickle or two. If you want to jack up this sandwich, make it with olive salad, or add a good melting cheese, like Gruyere, and grill it like you would a traditional grilled cheese. A pasta salad would go well with this sandwich.
One of my all-time favorite sandwiches is the Biloxi classic crab meat and cheese. It used to be called the Vancleave special, and I think I have told you that story, probably more than once. It is another sandwich that works well in hot weather, and is basically a crab cake, elongated, and served with melted cheese. It is absolutely delicious. Serve this sandwich with a shrimp potato salad (potatoes boiled in crab boil and boiled shrimp added) and you have a delight.
A good sandwich pairing doesn’t have to be anything special at all. I love a good ham, baloney, salami or even prosciutto sandwich served with nothing more than a cold glass of milk. Reminds you of being a kid, right?
Speaking of being a kid, I am a huge fan of pimento and cheese. It pairs well with a burger, even a hot dog, but a simple pimento and cheese sandwich (which can also be grilled) can also be elevated to new heights with a can of green chilis, or by using a better quality cheese.
If you just can’t think of a sandwich that sounds good, jump in the car and check out the deli at Rouses. You are sure to get inspired!