Summary: Simple Italian Sandwiches is a slim specialty cookbook with fun, artistic photos. Some photos are of the food and some are of the restaurant, ‘ino, that the authors, Jennifer and Jason Denton own in Greenwich Village, New York City. After the introductory material, which was fun to read since it’s an appreciation of Italy and New York and food, there are five sections: Condimenti, Panini, Bruschetta, Tramezzini and a final chapter of accompaniments. I knew (or could guess) the first three, but tramezzini is a new term to me. Here’s what the book had to say about it on page 87:
The word tramezzini, which translates roughly to “little something in the middle,” came into use when Mussolini banned all use of English making the word sandwich illegal. While tramezzini take the form made famous by the Earl of Sandwich, they have a flair that’s undeniable Italian.
They are small untoasted crustless sandwiches with fresh ingredients.
Thoughts: The tramezzini looked good, but I got this book for the panini, given our new Griddler Jr. Like the Panini Express cookbook (Book Review: Panini Express), this book had a tuna panini recipe: Italian Tuna, Oven-roasted Tomato, and Arugula Panini on page 42. That sounded good, but I had the ingredients for the tuna sandwich I recorded from Panini Express. So, I decided to just add the Oven-Roasted Tomatoes from this book to the other sandwich.
The recipe for Oven-Roasted Tomatoes is in the Condmenti section, along with a number of other very inspiring recipes. I love that these recipes tell you how long each condiment keeps in the fridge. That will inspire some make ahead creations.
The original recipe for Oven-Roasted Tomatoes called for 4 tomatoes, but I just used one and didn’t really measure the salt and vinegar. Although if you do use 4 tomatoes, the recipe claims these will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. My version went something like this.
dash of salt
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat the toaster oven to 275 degrees
2. Spread the tomato slices on a small foil-lined baking tray. Season with salt, then drizzle with blasamic vinegar. Bake for 20 minutes, drizzle some more balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes more.
These are really good, incredibly sweet as advertised. Unfortunately, they overpowered our tuna paninis, a sandwich that we liked very much without an overpowering tomato.
I made them a second time, for lunch today, to try in a different sandwich of my own creation — Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, local fresh goat cheese, pesto mayo, and spinach. This was much more successful. The tomatoes were the star of the sandwich with the goat cheese adding a touch of creaminess and a nice mild contrast to the acid in the tomatoes.
Appeal: This is a great cookbook for simple meals with gourmet overtones. When you have good ingredients and want quick preparations, there are tasty recipes here.
Check out this week’s Weekend Cooking post at Beth Fish Reads for links to more culinary adventures including strawberry pastries (the Beth Fish Reads post), raspberry chocolate scones (Joyfully Retired), and a funny Singapore food adventure with a not-so-satisfying ending at Adventures in a Low GI World.