This was a really beautiful meal that tasted great and even though I hate the phrase “quick and easy to make” if you don’t count the pesto which was made with a mortar and pastel. Nothing made with a mortar and pastel is either easy to make or quick but then I could have purchased black olive paste or substituted pesto which I usually have in the refrigerator.
The salad was simplicity itself and is clear in the picture above. There was a layer of arugula, next a slice of tomato, then a layer of fresh mozzarella cheese and topped with a sprig of Basil. Dolores did really like her comfort meals and this was one of her favorites. I would bet that these four ingredients accounted for 90 percent of the salads I ate at home in the last 25 years because I also loved it. When she was getting ready for dinner she would ask if I wanted a salad. I knew what she ment and the answer was always yes.
If there were no arugula in season, then it was basil on the bottom. If there were no basil than a sprinkle of the dried would suffice. I usually used a dash of Balsamic vinegar on top while Dolores stuck to the traditional Italian dressing. This is as true Italian as you can get and it’s in the Five Brothers cookbook without them even recommending any of their products.
The sandwich was another piece of art from Five Brothers with locally made bread with one side spread with a garlic black olive pesto. The next layer was a three oz tin of tuna in water well-drained. On top of that was the marinated artichoke hearts and then the top layer was locally grown arugula. This was eaten as a closed sandwich.
I really outdid myself on presentation but after looking at gooy mess foods that allegedly taste great or food that allegedly tastes good made in a filthy kitchen and posted in WordPress blogs I decided to clean up my act and become an artist in the kitchen. If you catch any lapses just let me know so I can grovel and beg for forgiveness.
Now as to authenticity of the sandwich, I would only be able to judge it with conversations with Dolores’ Uncle Allie. He would sit at the table and make a sandwich starting with bread and pesto on the bottom slice. Next was any kind of meat whether it was a hunk of ham, chicken or turkey and after that a couple of artichoke hearts or a roasted pepper. then he would top it with greens. When I asked what it was called his answer was always the same – it’s a sandwich.
Now except for the very fancy names, my wife’s family would call this salad and a sandwich. I kind of prefer:
Insalata di Pomodori E Mozzarella (salad)
Panini al Tonno e ai Carciofini Marinati (Tuna Sandwich)