Tuesday, June 07, 2011


When called upon to rustle up a snack or easy weekend lunch for myself on the spur of the moment, I rarely resort to sandwiches, preferring instead a plate of small bites—cheese, bread or crackers, apples or some other fruit, and raw veggies or pickles if I have them (you can imagine how excited I was when I went to England for the first time and discovered this, called a ploughman’s lunch, on nearly every pub menu). But how could I resist this sandwichified version of my go-to meal, especially when it not only featured my favorite cheese-fruit combo, sharp cheddar and apples, but was also adorned with my new bestie, Dijon mustard, and the kicker, that mind-blowing shallot-jam sauce I wrote about last week?

Thanks to the Kitchn, this sandwich will be accompanying me on every summer picnic—and I plan to find a lot of excuses to have picnics, the better to eat more sandwiches. It’s simple enough to throw together in a few moments (just make the shallot-jam sauce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge—heck, make a double recipe and eat the other half over chicken) and to tote around without making a soggy mess, but the flavors are incredibly complex—the sharpness of the vinegar, cheese, mustard, and apples balanced by the sweetness of the jam and the savoriness of the shallots—and the contrast between textures is exciting.

1 tablespoon olive oil
5 medium shallots, peeled and sliced thin
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 heaping tablespoons apricot jam or other preserves (such as peach or raspberry)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf crusty baguette or ciabatta
Whole grain Dijon mustard
Good-quality, very sharp cheddar cheese, thickly sliced
Butter lettuce
2 hard, tart apples such as Granny Smith or Braeburn, very thinly sliced
2–3 tablespoons lemon juice (from one lemon)

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes, until they begin to get soft and the bottom of the pan begins to brown. Add ½ cup chicken broth to the shallots, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Let the broth reduce, then add the balsamic vinegar, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 5 more minutes. Add the jam and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

2. Slice the baguette into four sections and slice the sections in half lengthwise. Spread a little whole grain mustard on the top half of each section. Smear one-fourth of the shallot-jam sauce on the bottom half of each section.

3. Toss the apple slices in a little lemon juice, and then add them to the bottom half of each sandwich. Add a few leaves of lettuce and then top with a layer of cheese. Press the sandwiches closed.

Serves: 4 (1 sandwich per serving)
Time: 30 minutes
Leftover potential: I didn’t test this—just made the sandwiches and ate them immediately—but the original recipe says that they’ll be OK wrapped in waxed paper and kept at room temperature for several hours, if you want to take them on a picnic.

No comments: