I happen to believe that the sandwich is the most perfect food in existence. From panini to gyros to pb+h (I don’t much care for j) to s’mores (this is technically a sandwich), I am smitten. I would go so far as to call myself a sandwich enthusiast. Therefore, from time to time I will feature a sandwich.
Tory Avey, a food historian on PBS.com explains, “the earliest recognizable form of a sandwich may be the Korech or “Hillel sandwich” that is eaten during Jewish Passover. Hillel the Elder, a Jewish leader and rabbi who lived in Jerusalem during the time of King Herod (circa 110 BC), first suggested eating bitter herbs inside unleavened matzo bread. The herbs symbolized the bitterness of slavery, and the bread resembled the flatbreads made in haste by the ancient Israelites as they fled Egypt. Hillel’s simple recommendation of sandwiching the two foods together may indicate that this was already a popular way of serving food in the Middle East.” So it’s uncertain where they first originated, but this may be where today’s sandwich originates from.
My favorite sandwich has the distinction of being created by my husband and named after me. The Dana. It is so named because it is the most delicious thing in the world, and I am not shy about singing its praises.
The Dana Panini
Ingredients (For two)
2 red peppers (or you can use roasted red peppers from a jar)
fresh basil leaves
butter or substitute (I use promise)
2 chicken breast
bread with a nice crust
1 clove garlic olive oil
1. Cook the chicken until there is no pink when you slice it open. We use a panini press, but you can also use a stovetop.
2. Grill the red peppers with the olive oil and garlic.
3. Butter the top and bottom outsides of the bread.
4. Assemble the sandwich- bread, chicken, basil, mozzarella, peppers, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, bread. In one variation on this panino I substitute tomatoes marinated in olive oil and balsamic instead of the peppers- then before assembling I dip the inside of the bread in the juices.
5. Cook on a panini press until the cheese is melted and the bread just golden browned. Or cook in a pan on the stove, pressing down on the top of the sandwich with a smaller, lightweight pan.
Eat. Eat it all. This sandwich goes well with lemon water or water flavored with fresh strawberries, citrus, or cucumber.