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Kelly J. Cooper

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Sammich Science [Oct. 10th, 2010|03:41 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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I made Antipasto Sandwiches With Goat Cheese for dinner tonight and it was OK. Suggestions for improvements?

I substituted a 7.5 oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil for the 12 oz jar of roasted peppers in the recipe ('cos I don't like peppers), which may have made for too much oil.

I ended up at Sessa's in Davis Square on Wednesday to get the olivada. I picked up a container of baby arugula and a ciabatta loaf earlier tonight (the original ciabatta loaf went stale before I found a jar of olivada AND remembered to pick up arugula, which I forgot in the first round of purchasing).

The upshot is that it took a stupid amount of effort to make an OK sammich. But it seems like it could be an AWESOME sammich if I could figure it out. The sun-dried tomatoes were not the right substitution. Or maybe I used too much of them. And I thought if I let the goat cheese warm up a bit, it would be spreadable and that was dumb. Definitely needed a softer, more spreadable goat cheese instead of a standard mini-log. Maybe I should've used less sun-dried tomatoes and mashed them into the goat cheese to make it more spreadable and manageable.

The addition of prosciutto would probably improve it. Any thoughts on what to use instead of roasted red peppers? Or thoughts on this idea in general? (Keep in mind that I don't like onions, mushrooms, or peppers so suggestions containing those items wouldn't be useful to me.)

[User Picture]From: istemi
2010-10-14 05:27 am (UTC)
it could be an AWESOME sammich if I could figure it out

Can you say some more about how it failed? There were a lot of errands involved, but that's tangential, right?

I'm at a disadvantage, because I don't eat goat cheese, olives, or proscioutto. So is it right to say this is yummy bread + a savory spread + some tasty vinegary veggie filling + arugala for bitter and that Look Mom I'm Eating Salad quality?

What were the tomatoes supposed to add? Sweet/acid? Color? Could you rehydrate dried ones? I think I've also seen a puree in a tube, which might reduce some of the oiliness.

Were you happy with the olivada?

Does pesto work with goat cheese? I bet it's incompatible with olives, though. Hmmm.

Does the 'no mushroom' rule extend to truffle oil? Is it the mushroom chewiness or the mustiness and flavor?
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2010-10-14 05:50 am (UTC)
The errands were just an aside. It was kind of annoying that I ran so many errands to make this sammich and then have it fail to be awesome.

Hmm. The failure had to do with it not quite being the right combination of flavors to make a ZING! experience. When the ingredients are correct, especially when cold/raw, they combine to create a whole new taste experience. (When you can cook things, flavors blend; so they have to be spot on if they're uncooked.) Kind of "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" experience.

In this case, the marinade of the sun-dried tomatoes (they were packed in olive oil with a ton of spices) and the sharpness of the tomatoes themselves dominated the flavor of the sammich. Too much bitterness, oregano, and oil.

In the original recipe, I'm guessing the red peppers were supposed to add a sort of piquant, roasty flavor. I substituted sun-dried tomatoes because that was the easiest thing I could think of, offhand, that would be somewhat similar. Maybe I should've chosen some roasted tomatoes?

The olivada was OK. By which I mean it was tasty enough, but not something I'd use center stage.

Pesto could probably work with goat cheese. Goat is sort of like cream cheese crossed with yogurt. I'm not sure how it would be with olives. Probably OK.

I love truffle oil. My problem with mushrooms tends to be the chewiness of the raw 'shrooms, the sliminess of cooked 'shrooms, and the fact that my digestive systems seems to dislike them.
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[User Picture]From: tb
2010-10-14 04:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I agree the roasted peppers are supposed to add a certain sweet smokiness as well as mild tartness, and that sun-dried tomatoes would just add brightness. So do try roasted tomatoes, or at least fewer plain sun-dried packed without spices. I also like the idea of adding prosciutto for more sweet/salty/smoke flavor. I know sun-dried tomatoes got well with bacon too, but that would take the sandwich in a whole nother direction.

On a side note, one of my favorite goat cheeses is one I get from CNY which adds rosemary and figs to the excellent base. It's awesome with prosciutto. Perhaps you could get a similar flavor with a good fig jam?
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2010-10-14 05:24 pm (UTC)
Sun-dried tomatoes with bacon actually sounds lovely.

Hmm, a little bit of sweetness sounds like it would help. And I do love me some fig jam. Although another possibility would be a maple-flavored bacon for the sweet flavor.

Good ideas, thank you!
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[User Picture]From: lillibet
2010-10-14 08:52 am (UTC)
Sandwiches are such a personal experience that it's hard to know where perfection lies. But things I'm thinking include Boursin instead of goat cheese (for the spready thing), artichoke hearts, and black pepper. If sun-dried tomatoes didn't do it, I agree that roasted might be the answer. Prosciutto makes everything better, so that'd probably help. Did you think about grilling it? That might also take it up a notch. Also serving it with straciatella.

That's all I got at the moment. Good luck!
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2010-10-14 04:03 pm (UTC)
I know sammiches are personal, but there are some combinations that just work for a lot of folks & I thought maybe I was missing something obvious.

Boursin is a good idea. I had a similar thought, then decided to try to stick as close to the original recipe as possible.

I don't have a sammich press and I was too chicken to try & grill it on the stove. It's quite a slippery critter. I might make more of an effort next time.
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[User Picture]From: lillibet
2010-10-14 04:09 pm (UTC)
Fair enough!

I have a panini pan, but what I find works even better is to use a cast iron pan and a big can (in my case a 16 oz. case of albondigas) to weight it down.

Good luck!
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2010-10-14 04:05 pm (UTC)
Also, thank you! And straciatella sounds delicious.
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[User Picture]From: muffyjo
2010-10-14 12:14 pm (UTC)
I am completely unqualified to answer this question since goat cheese is not one of my favorite flavors (I think it's a bit like cilantro to some people, I just don't have the gene that appreciated goat cheese).

That being said, a fresh mild salsa, like you can get at Trader Joes which is really just tomatoes cut up with onions and spices, might work nicely as well.

Or maybe a nice MLT where the mutton is sliced thin...

(Ok, I also like sunflower nut butter and peach amaretto jam so you know I can't be trusted with a decent sandwich).
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2010-10-14 04:04 pm (UTC)
You a funny, silly lady.

I like sunflower nut butter too! Especially since I can't have peanut butter any more.

I suspect I could make an onion-less salsa that might work. I'll think about that harder.

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[User Picture]From: rmd
2010-10-14 06:39 pm (UTC)
instead of sun-dried tomatoes, could you find some kind of roasted tomato?
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[User Picture]From: istemi
2010-10-14 10:08 pm (UTC)
What about raiding appetizer recipes for good flavor combinations? The goat-cheese sammich started as an antipasto, right? Then you can call it "deconstructed" and look smug and smaht.

rmd's chopped up cheese appetizer might make a good all-purpose spread, and you could combine it with other tasty things.
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