I love to cook and have been at it for almost fifty years. I love nothing more than inviting a few good friends over for Sunday brunch, spending days developing a menu, shopping for the best ingredients and spending Sunday morning, cooking. But I am a bachelor and more often than not the pickings are slim in my fridge. So, when I am looking for something quick to eat, it’s going to have to be made with what is at hand. More than likely, it’s a sandwich.
But I am not complaining, I love sandwiches and have all my life. As a kid, a butter and sugar sandwich was not uncommon, and I was also particularly fond of baloney and peanut butter. May sound gross to you now, but as a kid I liked them very much.
Today, I still like odd combinations and friends often comment on how creative I am, but the fact is the combinations that I come up with are a matter of necessity. If ham and collard greens are all that I’ve got, then that’s lunch. I would jazz it up with some really good olive oil (Rouses has a Sicilian oil that is just lovely), and a few drops of my favorite Mexican hot sauce, Valentina. The selection may be limited, but I am willing to try almost anything.
I do like to stock up at the deli at times, and I always get mortadella (from which Americans derived baloney, the sausage from the city of Bologna). I also like a good smoked ham, the smokier, the better. Black Forest ham is my favorite, but I haven’t found any that was good since I left Germany, many years ago. Good cheese is important too, and if you are going to melt it, the best in the world is gruyere, the French cave aged cheese. Make a grilled cheese sandwich with gruyere and your world will change.
My all-time favorite sandwich is a simple one that I came up with last year. Grill thick slices of Italian bread over the coals of a hardwood fire, add a few sliced of prosciutto de Parma, add fig preserves, with lots of juice, then anoint with the best olive oil you can find. It is stunningly good.
So, why don’t you give it a try? See what leftovers you have and come up with a combination you have never tried before.