This brick sandwich — a chilled and pressed Italian-style sandwich jammed with flavourful ingredients — is perfect for picnics.
It is easy to assemble, looks great and feeds a crowd with about the same effort it takes to make a regular sandwich.
Brick sandwiches are thus named because they spend the night being squashed by one or more bricks set on top of them. The result is a dense, intense sandwich in which the flavours and juices meld wonderfully.
While any size sandwich could be made this way, brick sandwiches typically are made using entire loaves of bread.
After pressing, the sandwich is cut into individual portions. Large, crusty Italian loaves work best.
The coating of goat cheese on the inside of the bread is an important part of the sandwich. It acts as a moisture barrier to prevent the bread from getting soggy.
If you’re not a fan of goat cheese, cream cheese or any spreadable cheese would work.
The fillings in this recipe are mostly Italian, but any combination of ingredients can be used. Just be sure to pat dry any high-moisture ingredients.
If your bricks are too dirty for you to feel comfortable placing them in your refrigerator, cover them in foil.
Don’t have time for overnight flattening? A few hours is fine, too.
Overnight Brick Sandwich
1 large focaccia (about a 500-g/1-lb loaf)
1 log (125 g/4 oz) goat cheese
75 ml (5 tbsp) tapenade
1 jar (426 ml/15 oz) roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
125 g (4 oz) sliced prosciutto
5 canned artichoke hearts, drained and thinly sliced
8 slices provolone cheese
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and patted dry
250 g (8 oz) sliced salami
8 large fresh basil leaves
Slice focaccia lengthwise through centre to split loaf into halves. Pull out most of the soft insides of both halves of the focaccia and discard or reserve for another use.
Spread half of the goat cheese over the insides of both focaccia halves, then top that with a thin spread of tapenade.
Arrange red peppers on top of tapenade on one half of the bread. Top peppers with prosciutto, then artichoke hearts, half of the provolone cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, salami, basil, then the remaining cheese.
Top sandwich with the other half of the bread, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Set the sandwich on a large platter or plate, then carefully set 1 or 2 bricks (as many as will fit) on top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
When ready to serve, unwrap sandwich and cut crosswise into slices.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 535 calories, 274 calories from fat, 30 g fat (15 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 79 mg cholesterol, 32 g carbohydrate, 29 g protein, 1 g fibre, 2,278 mg sodium.