When I was in High School, and also over one summer in college, I worked on Long Island at a place called Nick's Subside Heros. That job was so much fun. I learned to make sandwiches that included a wonderful combination of different meats and cheeses that people just clamored over at lunch time. We were always busy with in deli orders and deliveries. Now, we are talking how many years ago?...eh hem...the delivery business for deli sandwiches was hot even back then. We also did catering of 6 ft subs, long before there were chain sub shops!
So, when my friend and I had lunch at Firehouse Subs in Fairfax (although it was delicious, it couldn't hold a candle to a NY deli), I began to crave the taste for "cold cuts," as we called them in NY. (I asked my 6 yr old assistant to get me the "cold cuts" out of the fridge and she said, "what do you want?" -- "Lunch meat," I answered with a sigh. You just can't take the NY out of the girl, you know?)
Anyway, the wonderful taste of warm pastrami and corned beef sandwich was so satisfying. I couldn't get the joy of eating a deli sandwich out of my mind. So, warm panini sandwiches it was for dinner. I made a simple variation of a Turkey Club, although, I didn't put bacon but substituted hard salami.
I don't use a panini press. Why have one more huge gadget in your home? It's just not necessary -- unless you really like the grill lines. I use the back of my spatula to press the sandwiches down, or you can cover a brick with aluminum foil and not have to stand over the pan pressing down. Just place the brick on top of the sandwiches. (Caution -- the brick will get hot -- use an oven mitt to remove when preparing to flip the sandwiches over -- which is the one advantage of a press -- no flipping. But, where's the adventure in that?)
Kathy's Turkey Italian-Club Panini Sandwiches
1 loaf of sliced Tuscan bread
1/2 cup of butter or Smartbalance spread
American Cheese or Provolone Cheese slices
1/2 lb of thinly sliced Oven Roasted Turkey
1/2 lb of thinly sliced Ham
1/4 lb of thinly sliced Hard Salami
Several leaves of Romaine lettuce chopped
Thinly Sliced Sweet Onions
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 cup of lite mayonnaise
In a large skillet over med/high heat place two slices of buttered bread, butter side down; as the bread is browning, stack on each piece of bread two pieces of cheese, 4 slices of salami overlapping across the bread, topped with 2-3 slices each of ham and turkey, sprinkle some salt & pepper, and add the lettuce across the top of the meat; spread mayonnaise on two other slices of bread that will top those cooking in the pan; place the mayo side on top of the lettuce; press down hard with your spatula; add 2 tsp of butter or spread to your pan and carefully flip the panini sandwiches over -- this requires two hands, one to hold the spatula and the other to hold the top slice of bread while you flip; while it is browning, you can continue to press with your spatula or use the covered brick to provide the pressure. It should only take about 3-4 min per side to get a nice condensed sandwich with a beautiful brown color.
I served this meal with pickles and chips...the perfect NY deli dinner!
5 out of 6 were all over this meal. One special request came in and since I had just enough bacon, I indulged my daughter with a BLC (Bacon, Lettuce & Cheese) Panini Sandwich -- although, I think she would have been just fine with the other sandwich, too.
You bet I will be making this meal again. It was quick, it was easy, and it was Deli -cious! Not to mention, it was so much fun to revisit those High School memoryies and share a couple of the "deli stories" with my kids.
Remember: Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. (Lk 6:21)