Find yourself a great deli in your town, one that offers steamy corned beef, pastrami, hot ham, great Italian cured/smoked meats and one where you can have confidence in knowing that when you go to this deli, all that you want will be waiting for you.
Delis usually offer the classic sandwiches and there is no problem about that. I want...I need a great pastrami sandwich every so often. I want to have a sandwich with fresh baked bread that transcends a simple ham sandwich to delicious realms.
But with a lot of restaurants, cafes, and bars opening here and there, competition to gain patrons becomes high. Places offer eating challenges or rely on a specialty food item to set themselves a part from the rest.
So here are two sandwiches; one is a classic deli-type sandwich and the other, is a sandwich you may not see on deli menus.
Panini - Mozzarella, Ham, and Basil
Paninis are a staple in delis. Ciabatta bread bookends the guts of the sandwich together and grilled or pressed to melt the innards for gooey goodness. This ham panini satisifies on all levels: crunchy fabulous-tasting bread, juicy tomatoes, herbacous basil, bite from Dijon mustard, sliced hot cherry peppers, balsamic vinegar, creamy, melted mozzarella cheese and hammy goodness from deli-sliced ham.
Mustard is brushed on bottom on sandwich while the vinegar is brushed on top slice. Layer mozzarella, basil, ham, peppers, and tomato. Cook in pan or grill or panini press for a few minutes a side. Done.
Classic sandwich that packs a lot of comfy, homey flavor. Good, quality ciabatta is key here, fresher the better. The mustard and vinegar paired together gave the sandwich a little sting to it but it only added to the overall pleasure of the panini. The melted cheese rounds out the flavor quite well.
I was a little shy with piling the ham on. Delis are known for stacking meats several inches high, usually half pound to a pound of meat. Shame on me but I needed to reserve some ham for the rest of the week lunches! But I would recommend adding a ton of ham.
Proscuitto, Pear, and Blue Cheese
This sandwich leans more to the trendy side. Paper-thin proscuitto intertwined with Bosc pears and blue cheese is a little more sophisicated then peanut butter and jelly. Peppered lettuce and shallots mixed in red wine vinegar adds a crispness to it Multigrain toasted bread wraps it all together.
The blue cheese and proscuitto lend its salty and fattiness while the pears' sweetness combat those flavors. It put the sandwich is a savory/sweet category but the ingredients all makes sense together. Similar to the panini, creaminess from the cheese pairs well with the crunch of the lettuce and toasted bread.