Monday, July 2, 2012

An Illustrated Guide: Italian Ham and Cheese Sandwich

I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up—they have no holidays. – Henny Youngman

If you're headed to the beach or camp, take this excellent sandwich with you.
If you’re lucky, you still have one more day of holiday for the Canada day long weekend. Since Canada Day fell on Sunday, many folks have today off as well as Saturday and Sunday.

I saw many folks who didn’t even have yesterday off. It’s terrible, but I did shopping yesterday, so I was no help. In Canada we call the “big” holidays – the one’s everyone has off – Statutory Holidays. 

That means there are laws (many now with loopholes you can drive a bus through) that dictate certain days as days off. Why? Because these are the holidays *everyone* is supposed to have off legally: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Canada Day, Labour Day and Christmas Day.

So why were people working? Because very few jurisdictions allow employees to refuse to work on a public holiday if their employer requests that they do so. I can think of some jobs where folks work every one of these days.

There is one glowing example of a law being upheld. It’s the Newfoundland Labour Standards Act, which says, "an employer shall not require an employee to work under a contract of service on a public holiday".

One should question why there are statutory holidays at all if you don’t have them as a holiday/ My spouse worked yesterday, my local Canadian Tire was open, both grocery stores, the liquor store…

Regardless, I could rant on forever on this topic. I guess I should show you the sandwich.

It’s a good sandwich, like Ham and Cheese on steroids. It feeds 4 people easily, more if you serve side dishes.

Here’s the whole recipe. Illustrated steps follow.
Italian-Style Ham and Cheese
8x8 ciabatta loaf, or other flat loaf of approximately same size
1/2 cup olive tapenade
1-1/2 cups Italian parsley
175 g Tuscan ham
2 tomatoes, sliced
salt and pepper
200g sharp provolone cheese slices
175 g hot Calabrese salami
1 bunch basil
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Assemble as listed and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. 

Press for 1 hour under heavy weight. Slice into four or six equal pieces.

Split the ciabatta loaf and spread with the olive tapenade. Feel free to make your own:
olives, onion, herbs, capers...
Cover with Italian parsley.
Next up, two layers of Tuscan ham – or any other flavourful ham.
Thin slices of tomato, seasoned with salt and pepper.
A double layer of provolone cheese.
Then a double later of Calabrese salami. Make sure if you substitute you
use something very spicy. It adds kick to the sandwich.
Finally, a layer of basil (lots) on the salami, and a good amount of mayonnaise
on the top part of the loaf.
Wrap the sandwich well and press under a weight for at least 1/2 hour.
Pressing helps keep the whole sandwich together when eating.
Hope you like this sandwich. It's a great make-ahead and tasted very, very good!

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