Growing up, I thought of a sandwich as being two slices of white bread with a slice or two of meat and cheese between them. We may have gotten a little fancy from time to time and slathered on a little mustard or mayonnaise, but we certainly never thought of a sandwich as being a “gourmet adventure in dining”.
As I grew up, I did learn to improve my sandwich making skills to some extent, but it wasn’t until I came across an amazing panini store in down town Milan over 20 years ago that I discovered how wonderful a panini could be. This store sold only panini and drinks, and had a huge selection of amazing unique sandwiches of every description that were made fresh every morning.
These panini were artfully displayed in the shop and it was always difficult choosing just one after viewing each day’s options. The combination of different types of bread, meat, cheese, vegetables and seasonings was always inventive, and gave me a new appreciation of what I used to think of as a “simple panini”.
One of the sandwiches I often enjoyed when we visited that great panini bar in Milan included a zesty olive spread that was a little chunky in texture and added a lot of flavor. After trying it a few times, I went home and created this olive spread myself in my own kitchen, trying to replicate the same flavors.
The spread had two types of olives, roasted peppers, capers, and garlic, and after a few tries I created a panini spread I really liked that I have made many times over the years. I particularly like this spread on sandwiches with grilled vegetables, or ones that contain prosciutto cotto (cooked ham) or Mortadella.
- 1/2 Cup Briny Green Olives, Pitted
- 1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives, Pitted
- 1/2 Roasted Red Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Capers, Drained
- 1 Large Garlic Clove, Peeled
- Salt & Pepper
- Dash of Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Place the olives,pepper, capers, and garlic on a cutting board, use a sharp chef's knife and chop until the mixture is finely chopped.
- Place the chopped ingredients into a bowl, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Add enough olive oil to make a chunky sauce or spread.
- Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 88Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 335mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g