National Sandwich Day is Thursday. The date coincides with the birthday of John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, who popularized the item in the 18th century.
I like to think every day is sandwich day.
Still, it's fun to think of ways to celebrate. Like this Classic Cuban Pork Sandwich from Finlandia Cheese.
The company hired "Top Chef" contestant Ariane Duarte to build easy-to-make sandwiches using their products. She came up with several, including the Cuban sandwich.
Purists will note that Cuban sandwiches traditionally are made with Swiss cheese, not Gouda, and baked ham instead of peppered. And most do not refer to the Cuban bread as a "baguette." Around these parts, we call it a loaf or a flauta. The recipe runs below.
For more sandwich fun, I've added a great-looking recipe I found at AmazingSandwiches.com that can use seasonal Florida avocados as well as the Hass variety.
Another recipe to try: Chips & Guacamole Grilled Cheese by cheese mistress extraordinaire Laura Werlin.
In her recipe, tortilla chips are on the outside of the bread to give the sandwich its corn-like flavor and to make the guacamole, bacon, cheeses and corn chips flavors available all at once.
Werlin prefers using Colby and Monterey Jack separately but says you can use the combination cheese Colby-Jack, if you prefer.
Question about bread
Sandee Prickett in Zephyrhills recently tried the breakfast bread made by Publix and "fell in love."
Being diabetic, Sandee writes, "I find that it does raise the glucose level a bit more than I like. However, I think I can use Stevia and eliminate some artificial means of reproducing this recipe to make it more diabetic-friendly."
She was considering using a honey-wheat base and adding her own dried cranberries, blueberries and nuts.
"I would appreciate any ideas your readers may have on this recipe," Sandee says.
Readers? Any input?
Bob Moore wrote recently asking for the recipe to make a steak sandwich like the one served at the former Mac and Ivey's on Henderson Boulevard in the '60s.
Roxanne Papia of Tampa is looking for a recipe for Stuffed Shrimp a la Pepe from the former Café Pepe's on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa.
Connie Rott wants the fried beef tips recipe served with yellow rice at J.D.'s in Ybor City.
Kathy Freeman of Lake Placid is looking to make the fluffy coconut dessert served at the Fred's restaurant chain in Plant City, Lakeland and Winter Haven.
Classic Cuban Pork Sandwich
¼ pound peppered ham, sliced
¼ pound cooked pork loin, thinly sliced
8 slices Finlandia Gouda cheese
¼ cup grainy mustard
1/2 cup dill pickles, sliced
1 Cuban baguette
Slice the baguette in half lengthwise. Spread the grainy mustard on both sides of the bread. On the bottom half of the baguette, layer the ham, pork, Finlandia Gouda cheese and pickles. Cover with other half of bread; slice in 4 equal sections.
Source: Finlandia Cheese
Triple-Decker Chicken Avocado Sandwich
1 ciabatta roll
1 leaf of lettuce
2 ounce chicken breast
2 teaspoons chipotle mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 roasted garlic cloves
1 ounce petite Basque cheese
Mash the roasted garlic with a fork and mix them with the mayo to make roasted garlic mayo. Cut 2-3 avocado wedges and slice the chicken breast.
Now you're ready for assembly.
Cut the ciabatta roll into three pieces lengthwise.
On the bottom part, do nothing.
On the middle part, place the sliced cheese.
On the top part (on the inside), spread the mustard.
Toast all three pieces in a toaster oven until the cheese has melted and the bread is crunchy.
Spread 1/2 the garlic mayo on the bottom half, add the leaf of lettuce, and then the chicken. Place the middle part on top. Spread the other half of the mayo on the cheese, and lay the avocado on top. Close the sandwich, and enjoy while warm.
Chips & Guacamole Grilled Cheese
Makes 4 sandwiches
8 slices bacon
8 large tortilla chips (about 2 ounces)
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
8 slices sourdough bread
1/2 cup guacamole
2 tablespoons peeled, seeded, finely diced (1/4-inch) Roma tomatoes (see note)
4 ounces Wisconsin Colby Cheese, coarsely grated
4 ounces Wisconsin Monterey Jack Cheese, coarsely grated
Line a plate with paper towels. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until very crisp. Drain the bacon on the paper towels. Remove the bacon fat from the pan and wipe the pan with a paper towel, but do not wash it. Set aside.
To make the tortilla chip butter, put the chips in the bowl of a food processor and process until the texture is very fine, similar to sand. Alternatively, place the chips in a sturdy plastic bag. Using a meat mallet or other heavy object, pound the chips until they are the texture of sand.
Put the butter in a medium bowl and add the ground chips. Using a fork, work the chip "sand" and butter together until well-mixed. The mixture will be somewhat stiff.
To assemble: Spread the butter mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices, butter-chip mixture side down, on your work surface. Spread 2 tablespoons of the guacamole on each slice of bread. Sprinkle the tomato on top of the guacamole, if using. Follow with the Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses. Finish by placing two bacon pieces on each sandwich. Top with remaining bread slices, buttered side up.
For stovetop method: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches into the pan, cover, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the undersides are golden brown. Watch carefully because the chips in the butter can burn easily. Turn the sandwiches, pressing each one firmly with a spatula to compress the filling slightly. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the undersides are well-browned. Turn the sandwiches once more, press firmly with the spatula again, cook for 1 minute, and remove from the pan. Let cool 5 minutes. Cut in half and serve.
For sandwich maker method: Use your sandwich maker for this sandwich only if you have variable heat settings. Otherwise, it will cook too hot and burn the chips on the bread without melting the cheese. To use your sandwich maker, follow directions for assembly above. Cook according to manufacturer's instructions.
Note: There's no need to use the tomato if your guacamole already has tomato in it.
Source: Recipe adapted from "Grilled Cheese, Please!" by Laura Werlin.