We all understand the need to eat healthy foods. We tick off our five a day – although we sometimes struggle to reach three. There is fresh seasonal produce and other savoury delights on which to graze, and the constant need to find a fast and delicious meal.
Sandwiches can fit the bill – or they can fall far short. There is surely nothing worse than a meagre, dry and elderly sarnie. Britain was once famed for them but now almost every supermarket and bakery offers marvellous ingredients encased in good-quality bread.
Yes, it’s all about the choices of bread and filling. Texture is a crucial element, as is the combination of salad, meat, fish, cheese and vegetables that create unique flavours. These sandwiches can be hot or cold and take advantage of grainy loaves or light flatbread; they can present a fusion of exotic ingredients or they can showcase more traditional roast beef or cheddar cheese.
Many of us eat sandwiches every day and it can get boring. We invite friends over for a quick lunch but we wouldn’t dream of giving them a sandwich because it can get boring. There are evenings when we only fancy a fast supper but we don’t make sandwiches because they can be boring. There is indeed a theme here.
Stefania Corsi lives and works in Rome; we know that Italians have a well-deserved reputation for good food and that includes sandwiches, mostly panini. These toasted and crunchy savoury delights have become popular in cafés across the globe. They are made with a heated panini press but one can utilise a domestic sandwich maker or even those toaster bags that I personally could not live without.
We will all have our favourite fillings. I go for a mix of ham and cheese with a schmear of English mustard, although that seems banal in comparison to the options illustrated in Sandwiches, Panini and Wraps. How’s about a Fig, Pancetta and Goat Cheese Panini? Pecorino, Pepper and Anchovy sandwiches have all the taste of the Mediterranean. Black Bean Wraps with Guacamole are substantial and full of flavour. There are recipes here for both the guacamole and the salsa (although both are available pre-prepared from your local deli).
There are several sandwiches here that constitute full meals and they are among the most appealing in this book. Consider a moist and spicy Meatball and Baba Ganoush wrap. The recipe makes enough to serve 6 so it’s ideal for a summer lunch, or as part of a light dinner for you and friends whilst watching the big film or an unmissable sporting event. (Is there such a thing?)
Sandwiches, Panini and Wraps offers inspiration for healthy and fast meals as well as a few decadent treats. Many here would be fun for younger members of the family to prepare. Allow them to build the sandwiches themselves – it’s a good introduction to ‘almost‘ cooking. This is great value for money and a practical book to make those lunchtimes a little less soporific.
Sandwiches, Panini and Wraps
Author: Stefania Corsi
Published by: Apple Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018