I was contacted recently by Tre Stelle™ to ask me if I was interested in trying their new Bocconcini medallions. One thing’s for sure … I never say no to cheese!
I thought the idea of pre-sliced Bocconcini was a great one. Sure, you can slice a Bocconcini ball yourself, but it’s wet and slippery and not the easiest thing to cut neatly. These slices lend themselves to any recipe where flat cheese slices just work better. I think they’d be perfect for caprese salad, lasagna, panini or cold sandwiches.
I decided to use the Bocconcini medallions in a sandwich – a picnic perfect, Pressed Italian Sandwich. These sandwiches are great to make up and keep them in the fridge to grab and go. They are also perfect for picnics or packed lunches, as they are hearty and filling and travel well. They will keep well in the fridge for several days.
My version on the pressed sandwich features roasted red peppers, assorted Italian meats, Tre Stella Bocconcini medallions (drizzled with some balsamic vinegar) and arugula, all on a ciabatta bun. You can use any size ciabatta, from small buns to larger loaves. If using a large ciabatta loaf, simply place all the ingredients onto the loaf, refrigerate and press and then slice into smaller pieces before serving. I like to trim the edges off the sandwiches to enjoy all the layers. I love how all the flavours come together in this sandwich and notice how it’s red, white and green – just like the Italian flag!
Once made, the sandwiches are tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated with a weight on top (the “pressed” part). I used my cast-iron grill pan, which worked perfectly. Refrigerate with the weight at least 6 hours or ideally, overnight. To keep the sandwich freshest, keep in the fridge, tightly wrapped in the plastic wrap and un-trimmed. When ready to serve or transport, simply trim the side and end crusts and if you like, wrap in a strip of parchment paper secured with some twine. You can then re-wrap in plastic wrap, if needed to keep them from drying out while they wait to be eaten.
Pressed sandwiches are endlessly customizable. You can swap out spinach for the arugula, or tomato for the roasted red pepper. And so on. The possibilities are endless.
Pressed Italian Sandwiches
Summary: These are pretty and tasty sandwiches, perfect for a summer picnic or to stock in the fridge to grab for lunch. They are endlessly customizable. Just use your imagination.
- 6 small Ciabatta rolls (or you can use large buns or bread and slice up after)
- 2-3 Tbsp. butter
- 3 red peppers
- 1 large bunch of arugula, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 (200g) carton of Tre Stelle™ Bocconcini medallions (or if unavailable, you can slice a Bocconcini ball)
- Assorted Italian cold meats, about 250 – 300g. (I used Soppressata Salami, Capocollo and Napoli Salami)
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- To roast the red peppers: Set your oven to the Broil setting. Slice the sides off the red peppers and place skin side up on a baking sheet (*I like to trim the ends so they lie as flat as possible, as they will brown better than pieces that are sloped). Place under the broiler until very well charred (black) on top, about 10 minutes (watch closely after 5 minutes. You’ll want them to be mostly blackened on top.) Remove from the oven and immediately place the peppers in a plastic ziploc bag. Pop in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes. Remove peppers from bag and peel off the blackened skin with a knife. Discard the skin and place the peppers into a small bowl. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- To prepare the sandwiches: Cut your ciabatta in half and butter each piece (or you could brush with a bit of olive oil, if you prefer, but butter will help prevent moisture from getting into the bread. Especially butter well under the red peppers if your sandwiches will be sitting for more than a day.). Place a layer of red pepper on bottom slice of bread. Top with a generous layer of cold meats (5 or 6 layers). Take your Bocconcini slices and place on a piece of paper towel. Top with another piece of paper towel and pat to dry a bit. Top the cold meat with a layer of the Bocconcini slices. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the Bocconcini slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with a generous layer of arugula. Top with top slice of ciabatta.
- Wrap each sandwich tightly with plastic wrap and place on a platter or baking sheet. When all the sandwiches are prepared, place the platter in the refrigerator. Place a heavy skillet on top of sandwiches to apply weight (if you don’t have a heavy skillet, top with another baking sheet and place some large cans on top for the weight).
- Refrigerate at least 6 hours or ideally, overnight.
- When ready to serve, remove from plastic wrap. If desired, you can trim the sides and ends of the sandwiches to make neat sides and to enjoy the wonderful colours of these sandwiches.
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 7 hours
Number of servings (yield): 6
I received coupons for the Bocconcini medallions, along with a lovely cheese board from Tre Stelle, but as always, my opinions are my own.