spicy italian sandwich

Some days, I enter my car to discover it littered with the detritus of meals-on-the-go. Just yesterday, battling a headache and facing a 45-minute bumper-to-bumper commute, I spent $2.50 on a Dr. Pepper and a package of chocolate sandwich cookies to get me through the drive home. The Dr. Pepper made it into the apartment, but the wrapper from the cookies (which tasted, as one might expect, like so much cardboard and sour frosting) hides in the door pocket. Most days, the white paper straw wrappers in the seats and the receipts bearing the restaurant logos we all love to hate go ignored. 

I feel let down by the cookies. I know, as soon as a buy them, that they’ll taste terrible. Even the Dr. Pepper will fail me. I’ve slowly weaned myself off of caffeine, with the exception of a morning cup of coffee. So a soda this late in the day will do me no favors. But after a meeting that ran too long, a bristly customer, and facing a commute with a head that just won’t quit, I need something. I need sustenance.

Sustenance does not lie in cardboard cookies or delivered pizza, neither of which satisfy for any length of time. True sustenance lies in the salty, savory something I can put on the table without any trips to the store, any stress over instructions or ingredients, and without any guilt. Chopped garlic, swirls of olive oil, shavings of parmesan. Tonight, sustenance is a sandwich. Sustenance, that which sustains me, comes in the marrying of bakery bread (leave the Wonder alone on the shelf) with melted, tangy goat cheese, crispy-on-the-edges spicy salami, fresh arugula from my garden, and olive oil.  The spiciness of both the salami and the arugula go so nicely with the soft, fresh sourness of the goat cheese.

Spicy Italian Sandwich
Serves 2

You will need:
4 slices good-quality bread
Goat cheese

Parmesan cheese
Spicy salami or other Italian cold cut
Fresh arugula, or other leafy green
Olive oil 

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. While oil is heating, generously spread a slice of bread with goat cheese. When oil is hot (it will be particularly shiny), place a slice of bread on the oil. Top with cold cut, lettuce, parmesan cheese to taste, and another slice of bread. Brown the sandwich on one side, flip, brown on the other.

Serve with spicy mustard for dipping, and alongside sliced apples and olives for increased depth of flavor.


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