Though my husband always whines when I’m on social media during vacation, he sure was happy about it this time! On my recent vacation in Sicily, one of my Facebook friends, Akasha Richmond, commented on a photo of me in Siracusa recommending a sandwich stand I just HAD to visit—Caseificio Borderi. Luckily, I was visiting that area the very next day. I was a little skeptical, but I’m so glad I listened to the tip. Thank you Facebook! It was the best sandwich of my life! Click on the video below to see why.
This was no ordinary sandwich stand. The man who owns the business takes more pride in his work than anyone I’ve ever met; he truly LOVES what he does. People from around the market line up just to see him work. You’ll see from my video how much he hams it up (pun intended). It’s not just his huge personality (and singing!) that make him famous, his sandwiches are out-of-this-world delicious. Not to mention cheap! We spent less than 4 euro on a sandwich that fed two.
What a classic Italian personality! Just take a look at that video. The first time I got a sandwich from him, it took 15 minutes for him to make just one. Italians are much more patient than New Yorkers, I discovered. What a flirt he was though– offering cheese and free samples to all the pretty ladies! I even got my first sandwich for free!
I learned quite a bit about the art of sandwich making from watching him. It’s all about creating many layers of the highest-quality Italian ingredients. This guy doesn’t just go for one type of meat and cheese each– no way, he piles on layers and layers of different types of cheeses, meats, olives, herbs, tomatoes, and peppers.
I may not have access to every authentic Sicilian ingredients he uses, but here in New York, we can get our hands on a some pretty incredible Italian products. If you can’t, you can order just about anything online these days! That paired with the Sicilian capers, sundried tomatoes, and oregano I brought home meant I had a good chance of recreating his sandwich magic at home.
This isn’t so much a recipe as it is an overall sandwich making technique. In the end, it makes a sandwich that’s more worthy of a dinner party than a lunch bag. Let’s get started!
First, get your supplies. An Italian hero (the best you can find), fresh tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, capers, olives, dried oregano, sliced provolone, buffalo mozzarella, proscuitto, Italian salami, ricotta salata (or another hard cheese), olive oil, and basil. Pesto is also a nice addition! Remember, this is all fairly customizable.
First, slice your bread in half. If your Italian bread isn’t great, feel free to scoop out some of the innards. Layer on the tomatoes! Both fresh and sundried. Don’t forget a little sprinkle of salt and pepper here.
Next, grate some ricotta salata (or another firm cheese) on top. This texture is crucial! Add a light sprinkling of dried oregano on top.
Throw some capers and smashed olives on next. I don’t know if it matters, but the sandwich expert smashes his olives, so I did too!
A few leaves of fresh basil go on next. Now we’re ready for the fun part.
I’ve never seen this technique before, but it is genius! On a piece of waxed paper, lay the provolone down in an overlapping rectangular shape. In the middle, pile on the salami and the proscuitto.
Using the wax paper to guide you (like a sushi roller), roll the cheese around the meat until you have this meat-filled cheese roll! It creates the perfect layering of meat and cheese in every bite.
Lay it on top of the sandwich and top it with a little olive oil. Almost done!
Lastly, if you feel like it, spread the top of the bread with some pesto. I had it on hand and figured it couldn’t hurt.
Voila! An Italian sandwich masterpiece. It’s so much more complex than an ordinary sandwich– each ingredient adds a unique layer that become so much more than the sum of their parts.
What do you think? Ready to try this out and become a sandwich artist? You’re bound to become a lunchtime celebrity if you pull this out soon. I have to say, Michael was pretty impressed!