Sandwich Nicoise

Nicoise sandwichThe warm, dry winter California experienced is bumping the seasons forward a bit this year. Trees are already changing into their autumn finery, and while the light doesn’t say, “Summer’s over,” just yet, there’s definitely a sense that it’s about to wind to an end.

Because it’s been so warm for so long, much of our summery wines had already been enjoyed, and our very last bottle of rosé sat lonely in the refrigerator. With the sense of change in the air, it felt like it was time to seize the opportunity to enjoy that lovely, pink wine while the evenings were still warm.

But what to pair it with? Salad Niçoise is always a bright and savory choice for a summer’s meal, but wouldn’t it be even better sandwiched between two halves of a sourdough roll? With such a thought in mind, I created one heck of a sandwich.

Sandwich Niçoise

Serves 2-4

2 sourdough French rolls
1 Tablespoon butter
dash of garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
6 new, tiny fingerling potatoes
1 Tablespoon olive tapenade (Use nicoise olives to make your tapenade if you can find them.)
anchovy paste to taste
1 very small red pepper, sliced thinly
dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon of chopped green onions
1 can of tuna packed in olive oil
1 heirloom tomato, sliced thinly

Wash potatoes. Put a small pot of water on to boil. Sprinkle in some salt and add the potatoes. Once the water begins to do a roiling boil, carefully put the eggs in. Put on a lid and turn off the fire. Let the potatoes and eggs sit for 20 minutes. Pour off the water and rinse with cold water until the eggs are only slightly warm to the touch. Peel the eggs and slice. Cut the potatoes in half and drizzle with olive oil as well as sprinkling them with salt, pepper, and parsley. Set aside.

While the potatoes and eggs sit, warm a stove top griddle over low heat. Slice the rolls in half, butter each half and sprinkle with garlic powder. Place on the griddle until the open faces of the bread is golden brown. Remove from heat.

Spread mustard on each piece of bread. Spread tapenade on one slice of each roll and anchovy paste on the other slices. Sprinkle the onions on the tapenade side and press down lightly. Then assemble the sandwiches with the rest of the ingredients, layering carefully so everything doesn’t slide right out. I put the tuna on top of the anchovy paste, the red pepper next, then the tomato, egg slices, and finally, the potatoes.
This is a huge sandwich, so feel free to share the other half with your other half and save the other sandwich for later.
Serve with a side of green beans (a staple of Salad Niçoise), and enjoy this last breath of summer.

Cheese Tray

cheese-plateAs much as I love to cook, play with recipes, and wander along the grocery aisles (or wine section) looking for inspiration, occasionally, I just don’t want to cook.

On those days, I make a cheese plate. I tend to prefer sheep and goat cheeses and try to balance hard and soft cheeses, though I’m a sucker for the soft cheeses. Four varieties seems to be the perfect cheese balance. I think a good assemblage should also include a vegetable something, often a tapanade, olives are always a must, and adding a couple of complimentary proteins, like salami or hummus or nuts, round out the plate well. Add a character-full wine, and you’ve got a filling, interesting dinner for very little effort.

Our choice was a bottle of David Girard Vineyards 2008 Coda Rouge. Its cedar/vanilla nose led to a glass of minerals and dark cherry. The lovely wine, the amazing cheese combo, and a moonlight-filled evening watching “The Spoils of Babylon” made for a pretty incredible Friday night.

This was what I assembled:

Cheese Tray

  • Difficulty: super easy
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serves 2

1.5 ounces Drunken Goat® cheese
1.5 ounces Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor®
3 ounces Fromagerie Guilloteau™ Pavé d’Affinois™
2 ounces of Point Reyes Toma
4 ounces of salami, sliced thinly
2 spoonfuls of black olive and garlic hummus
4 spoonfuls of sun-dried tomato tapanade (I actually made my own by throwing a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil into the food processor and pulsing a few times. It would have been smashing with a few Kalamata olives thrown in, too.)
8 green olives, stuffed with garlic
8 green olives, stuffed with red pepper

I served the collection with my favorite gluten-free crackers, Blue Diamond’s Artisan Multiseed Nut Thins.

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