RECIPES: Summer sandwiches that travel and beat the heat

When you're headed to the beach or the mountains, great sandwiches to take along include Muffuletta (top), Vietnamese Beach Baguette (right), Swedish Picnic Loaf (bottom), and Pan Bagnat (left). (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Combined ShapeCaption
When you're headed to the beach or the mountains, great sandwiches to take along include Muffuletta (top), Vietnamese Beach Baguette (right), Swedish Picnic Loaf (bottom), and Pan Bagnat (left). (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Simple comfort food, favorite lunchtime fare, or the ultimate traveling nosh, the tale of the naming of the sandwich goes back to 1760s England.

It seems John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, was a serious gambling man, who asked his cook to create a sliced meat and bread handheld that was easy to devour at the gaming table.

Certainly, something like a sandwich has existed since ancient times. And now, nearly every culture and country has created both everyday and seasonal favorites.

In summer, when it’s time to hit the beach, hike up a mountain, or have a picnic in the park, sandwiches that can take the heat are packed into bags and baskets. What’s more, many of the best improve with a bit of time to marry textures and flavors.

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Maybe the most perfect example, the hefty muffuletta originated among Sicilian farmers, with different fillings than what we think of today. Its fame in America began in early 1900s New Orleans, where Salvatore Lupo created his version at Central Grocery in the French Quarter.

You can still find it there, and everywhere, with an iconic blend of olive salad, cured Italian meats, and cheese. But the key ingredient is pillowy muffuletta bread, a wide, round loaf covered in sesame seeds. We found a pretty good version at E. 48th Street Market’s bakery in Dunwoody.

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Pan bagnat (bathed bread) also uses an olive spread. But once you cross the border from Italy to France, the Provencal version is quite different. With a tapenade of herbs, garlic, anchovies and olives, it tastes of the sea and mountains of the south of France.

Sold everywhere from beach vendors and roadside stands to shops and farmers markets, it’s proved to last through the hottest days. And whether it’s tucked into ciabatta or focaccia bread, it remains a sandwich for everyone.

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Combined ShapeCaption
If you're preparing for a picnic, great options include Muffuletta (upper middle), Swedish Picnic Loaf (bottom right), Pan Bagnat (bottom left) and Vietnamese Beach Baguette (upper left). (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

If you're preparing for a picnic, great options include Muffuletta (upper middle), Swedish Picnic Loaf (bottom right), Pan Bagnat (bottom left) and Vietnamese Beach Baguette (upper left). (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Combined ShapeCaption
If you're preparing for a picnic, great options include Muffuletta (upper middle), Swedish Picnic Loaf (bottom right), Pan Bagnat (bottom left) and Vietnamese Beach Baguette (upper left). (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Scandinavian open-faced sandwiches are ubiquitous, including quick and easy smoked salmon recipes from Ikea. Sadly, open isn’t ideal to pack up for an outing. But turning things inside out solves the problem, and makes for an even heartier summer repast.

Call it Swedish picnic loaf. A combo of homemade dill and scallion cream cheese spread, smoked salmon, thinly sliced cucumbers and radishes, stacked with thinly sliced pumpernickel bread, manages to be elemental and rather dainty at the same time.

We refer to our version of the vegetarian Vietnamese Banh Mi Chay as a beach baguette, because it makes a satisfying counterpoint to the seaside wind and water. It’s made with a spicy mash of tofu and chili crisp, classic pickled vegetables, and a topping of fresh herbs and chopped peanuts.

For even more flavor, nuoc cham fish sauce adds some salty-sweet heat and tang. But for a vegan version, omit the sauce, or serve it on the side for dipping.

RECIPES

These four international sandwiches are perfect for the dog days of summer, meeting and beating the heat, and ready-made for travel.

Combined ShapeCaption
Muffuletta is a New Orleans-style sandwich made on a round Sicilian sesame loaf. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Muffuletta is a New Orleans-style sandwich made on a round Sicilian sesame loaf. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Combined ShapeCaption
Muffuletta is a New Orleans-style sandwich made on a round Sicilian sesame loaf. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Muffuletta

This classic New Orleans-style sandwich is layered with olive salad, cured Italian meats and provolone cheese on a round Sicilian sesame loaf.

Muffuletta
  • 1 round Italian loaf or 4 individual sesame rolls
  • 1 cup jarred olive salad, such as Boscoli, divided
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound mortadella, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound soppressata salami, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound capicola, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound provolone, thinly sliced
  • Optional toppings: pickled peppers, pickled onions
  • Split the bread in half. Spread 1/2 cup olive salad on the bottom half. Layer the prosciutto, mortadella, soppressata, capicola and provolone on top. Add any optional toppings and finish with 1/2 cup olive salad. Tightly wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap and press by topping it with a cast-iron pan weighted with canned goods for an hour or so. After that, you can pack it. Or if you need to refrigerate it, bring it to room temperature before serving. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per sandwich: 775 calories (percent of calories from fat, 60), 37 grams protein, 42 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 52 grams total fat (18 grams saturated), 120 milligrams cholesterol, 3,225 milligrams sodium.
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Pan Bagnat, a Provencal-style tuna sandwich, can be made on a ciabatta loaf or individual rolls. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Pan Bagnat, a Provencal-style tuna sandwich, can be made on a ciabatta loaf or individual rolls. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Combined ShapeCaption
Pan Bagnat, a Provencal-style tuna sandwich, can be made on a ciabatta loaf or individual rolls. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

This Provencal-style tuna sandwich on ciabatta bread is both rather sophisticated and easy to make in advance.

Pan Bagnat
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 loaf ciabatta or 4 individual rolls
  • 1 cup olive tapenade, such as Divine
  • 2 cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Prepare the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Adding the oil slowly will help emulsify the dressing. Set aside until ready to use.
  • To assemble the sandwiches: Split the ciabatta loaf or rolls 3/4 of the way through, leaving a “hinge” to fold over the ingredients. Spread top and bottom of the bread or rolls with tapenade. Layer the tuna, roasted peppers, red onion and sliced eggs. Top with a generous amount of basil and drizzle 1/4 cup vinaigrette on top. If using individual rolls, drizzle equal portions of vinaigrette on the inside of the top of each roll. (Reserve remaining vinaigrette for another use.) Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature to serve. If using a loaf, cut into 4 pieces. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per sandwich: 594 calories (percent of calories from fat, 48), 34 grams protein, 43 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 32 grams total fat (6 grams saturated), 108 milligrams cholesterol, 1,823 milligrams sodium.
Combined ShapeCaption
Swedish Picnic Loaf is a double-decker sandwich with Scandinavian smoked salmon and herbed cream cheese. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Swedish Picnic Loaf is a double-decker sandwich with Scandinavian smoked salmon and herbed cream cheese. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Combined ShapeCaption
Swedish Picnic Loaf is a double-decker sandwich with Scandinavian smoked salmon and herbed cream cheese. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

This double-decker Scandinavian smoked salmon sandwich is flavored with herbed cream cheese slathered on pumpernickel bread.

Swedish Picnic Loaf
  • 2 (8-ounce) tubs whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped, plus extra fronds left whole
  • 1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 12 thin slices pumpernickel bread
  • 3/4 pound smoked salmon
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch red radishes, thinly sliced
  • In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, chopped dill and scallions until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Spread enough cream cheese to cover a slice of bread. Top with salmon and 1/4 of the cucumber. Top with a second piece of bread spread with cream cheese, salmon and 1/4 of the radishes. Place several dill fronds on top along with the third piece of bread. Repeat to make 4 sandwiches. Trim the crusts, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature to serve. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per sandwich: 751 calories (percent of calories from fat, 54), 32 grams protein, 55 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 46 grams total fat (24 grams saturated), 134 milligrams cholesterol, 1,540 milligrams sodium.
Combined ShapeCaption
Vietnamese Beach Baguette can easily become a vegan option. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Vietnamese Beach Baguette can easily become a vegan option. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Combined ShapeCaption
Vietnamese Beach Baguette can easily become a vegan option. (Styling by Lisa Hanson / Chris Hunt for the AJC)

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

Credit: CHRIS HUNT

This take on a vegetarian banh mi is made with a spicy tofu salad flavored with chili crisp and served on a baguette. You can omit the fish sauce to make it vegan.

Vietnamese Beach Baguette
  • 1 daikon radish, peeled, thinly sliced and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar, plus 2 teaspoons, divided
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 wide French baguette or 4 individual baguettes
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 4 tablespoons chili crisp
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, washed and tough stems removed
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, washed and tough stems removed
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed and tough stems removed
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • Make the pickled vegetables: In a small bowl, combine radishes, carrots, 1/2 cup rice vinegar and 2 tablespoons sugar. Make sure that the vegetables are submerged. Set aside until ready to use. You can leave them in the liquid for as little as 15 minutes or as long as overnight.
  • Make the nuoc cham: In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water, lime juice, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, and fish sauce. Set aside until ready to use.
  • Split the baguette(s) in half, leaving a “hinge.”
  • In a medium bowl, smash the tofu with a fork and add the chili crisp. Combine well, adding more chili crisp if desired. Spread the tofu mixture on the bottom half of the baguette. Top with butter lettuce leaves, pickled vegetables, mint, basil and cilantro. Top with the chopped peanuts. Drizzle 1/4 cup nuoc cham on the inside of the top of the baguette. If using individual baguettes, drizzle equal portions of nuoc cham on the inside of the top of each baguette. (Reserve remaining nuoc cham for another use.) Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature to serve. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per sandwich: 492 calories (percent of calories from fat, 22), 28 grams protein, 73 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fiber, 13 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 1,007 milligrams sodium.
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