Somehow, between middle school and college, I went from being a sandwich hater to a sandwich lover.
Not the kind of sandwiches that you throw together in a rush on your way out the door in the morning. I want nothing to do with those. They bore me.
Not to be catty or anything. But they are so. Last. Year.
No. We’re talking about the kind of sandwiches that require thought. And perseverance. Sandwiches that make you go Mmmmmm.
I think my change of heart occurred when my college roommate, Tiffany, and I went to a restaurant in Cambridge’s Harvard Square called The Redline. It was there that we had our first Cuban sandwich. And it was also there that we tried to sell our souls and our firstborn children to the God of Sandwiches. If only we could eat that sandwich every day. For the rest of our lives.
(He wouldn’t let us. He said something about heart disease and high cholesterol and how he couldn’t let us do that to ourselves. But he agreed to allow us to return every few months or so. And promised that the sandwiches would be just as good as we remembered. Possibly better. That whole absence makes the heart grow fonder. Thing. Yeah. He was a good guy.)
Since then, my outlook on sandwiches has been different. Gone are the days of just throwing together a random amalgam of bread and deli meat and hoping for the best.
Now. I try to really delve into the inner psyche of my sandwiches. Think about all of their components. Pair the perfect filling with the perfect bread and topping it with the perfect condiment.
It’s almost like Millionaire Matchmaker. Except instead of people. I match comestibles. On 27 levels of compatibility.
Each component has to fill out a 436 question survey before they can be allowed into my apartment.
I call it the eHarmony model.
You know what they say. Those who can’t do. Teach. And so if I can’t find someone to “fall in love with for all the right reasons”. I might as well help deli meat along on it’s quest for true love.
This recipe first caught my eye because of the tahini sauce. I love tahini sauce. Almost as much as I love peanut sauce. Actually. I love them both. Equally. But in different ways.
Unfortunately, Bon Appetit calls for one to mix the tahini with ranch dressing. I thought that was ludicrous and decided to mix it instead with Greek yogurt. That was a good call.
Then, I started thinking about bread. And I thought this mix of portobellos, caramelized mushrooms, and tahini sauce would go really well on a nice French baguette. As opposed to the thick hearty slices of white bread that Bon Appetit calls for. I was right.
The Millionaire Sandwichmaker. Strikes again.
Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches with Tahini Sauce
Serves 4, adapted from Bon Appetit’s Fast/Easy/Fresh
2 long loaves of French bread (recipe to follow)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/4 lb portobello mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/3 inch wide strips
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp cajun seasoning
2/3 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
12 thin tomato slices
4 oz grated mozzarella
1. Head oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add creole seasoning. Saute 2 minutes.
2. Whisk together the greek yogurt, tahini, and almond milk. Season to taste with salt.
3. Cut the loaves of French bread in half, both width-wise and lengthwise. Layer on the arugula, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. Top with 1/4 of the mushroom mixture. Drizzle on some of the tahini sauce.
Makes 3 or 4 baguettes, 1 boule, or 12-16 rolls, adapted from How to Cook Everything
3 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour (I used AP flour)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
scant 1 1/2 cups water
1. Combine half the flour with the salt and yeast and stir to blend. Add all of the water and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add remaining flour a bit at a time. When the mixture becomes too tough to stir with a spoon, begin kneading, adding as little flour as possible. Knead until smooth but still quite moist, about 10 minutes.
2. Put into a large bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise for 2-3 hours, at room temperature.
3. Sprinkle a bit of flour onto a counter or tabletop and cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball, sprinkling with more flour is necessary. Cover with a towel and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
4. Spread a large piece of cloth on your countertop and sprinkle lightly with flour.
5. Press each dough ball flat, then fold it over onto itself twice. Seal the resulting seam and roll the dough into a long snake. Place the loaf, seam side up, in a fold of the cloth. When all the loaves are formed, cover them with a cloth and let them rise for 1-2 hours at room temperature.
6. 30 minutes before you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 with a baking stone in the oven. Sprinkle each loaf with flour and slash the top with a razor blade. Slide the bread onto the baking stone. Spray the inside of the oven to create steam, them put the loaves into the oven.
7. After 5 minutes spray again. Bake 25-35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature is at least 210 degrees F. Cool on a wire rack.