September 5, 2011

Deviation: Book Review of The Sandwich Encyclopedia

There's nothing quite like a hot sandwich on a dreary day. But who wants regular old grilled cheese?? Jazz up your day with an Artisanal Grilled Cheese Sandwich instead!

The great thing about The Sandwich Encyclopedia, by Food Blogga Susan Russo, is this the book is not only filled with delicious classics - peanut butter and jelly, po'boy, croque-monsieur - but there are stylish twists on all your regular favorites. For instance, the above! The recipe starts off with a brief history of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich, which really remained unchanged for decades. Then in the late 1990s, classy restaurant chef Nancy Silverton started offering Thursday Grilled Cheese Night and introduced "a whole new world of designer sandwiches."

The book offers a standard and delectable recipe for an Artisanal Grilled Cheese Sandwich, but goes the extra distance to include variations to expand your options based on palate, ingredients available, etc. - and they do that with just about every recipe! I love that it helps the reader/eater think outside the box!

So my lovely sandwich was a "sweet and savory" variation: grilled buffalo mozzarella, tapenade, and fresh basil on ciabatta bread (well, I couldn't find buffalo mozzarella, but I used a nice regular fresh mozz instead). It was great! The tapenade was rich but the fresh basil gave a subtle contrast and freshness. The crunch of the soft cheese against the crispy panini was delicious. It's a combination I wouldn't've thought of - especially in the context of a grilled cheese sandwich - but I would have been sad to have missed out on it.

So the next time you start craving a monte cristo, crab melt, or BLT (or BLAT, BLOFT, or BLTT for that matter!) hop on over to and pick up the latest from Susan Russo, The Sandwich Encyclopedia. The quirky trivia and sandwich histories, great photographs, and delicious recipes will surly satisfy every sandwich-lover in your life!

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