Did you know Tuesday is National Pack Your Lunch Day? Yes, it would appear there's at least one food holiday for every day of the year. Regardless, a fast and portable meal is always one to celebrate, be it a midday meal or a quick dinner solution. Whether you're planning a relxing picnic or, more likely, are juggling the kids' soccer games or weeknight activities, these ideas are perfect when you're on the go and need an easy dinner solution.
Shooter's sandwich: The shooter's sandwich fills a loaf of crusty bread with slices of well-seasoned grilled steak, chipotle chiles and shiitake mushrooms. After pressing, the meat melds with the bread. Chipotle mayonnaise adds heat. The sandwich comes together in just 30 minutes; make the sandwich first thing in the morning, then leave it in the fridge to press until you're ready to go.
Egg salad sandwich with dill: It doesn't get much easier than this classic sandwich. Chopped hard-boiled eggs are tossed with onion, celery, mustard, vinegar, mayonnaise and a touch of salt for a quick egg salad. The salad is great by itself, but spoon it between two slices of bread with shredded lettuce and fresh dill and you've got a meal that's perfect when you're on the go or looking for a quick bite to eat.
Pan-bagnat: Pan-bagnat is a pressed sandwich stuffed with things like tuna, eggs, potato and red onion that actually gets better as it sits, giving the variety of flavors time to marry. Make it ahead of time, then wrap it up and chill until ready to serve. You can find the recipe below.
Total time: 30 minutes plus refrigeration time | Serves 8
Note: From Alain Giraud. The bagnat must be prepared at least four hours before serving or, even better, the day before. Quail eggs are available at Asian markets. Breakfast radishes and spring onions are found at farmers markets. Regular radishes may be substituted for breakfast radishes; sweet onions, such as Maui, may be substituted for spring onions.
1/4 small fennel bulb (about 1/2 cup sliced)
1 large artichoke
8 breakfast radishes
4 small spring onions
1 tablespoon fleur de sel, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
8 quail eggs
1 teaspoon vinegar
4 tomatoes, very ripe
8 medium (4- to 5-inch) focaccia rolls
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup black olive tapenade
12 ounces Italian tuna in olive oil, gently broken into pieces
8 small anchovy fillets cured in olive oil
8 baby romaine lettuce leaves (4 to 5 inches long)
1. Clean the fennel and slice it as thinly as possible (use a mandoline if you have one). Trim the artichoke down to the heart; slice it like the fennel. Slice the radishes and the white part of the green onions very thin.
2. In a small bowl combine the sliced fennel and artichoke, sprinkle some fleur de sel (about one-half teaspoon) and a touch of black pepper over them and add a tablespoon of lemon juice. Combine well and reserve. In another small bowl, combine the sliced radishes and onions, sprinkle with one-half teaspoon fleur de sel, a touch of pepper and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Reserve.
3. Hard-boil the quail eggs, starting with cold water and a teaspoon of vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for three minutes. Stop the cooking with running cold water. Peel, cut them in half and reserve.
4. Slice the tomatoes 1/4-inch thick. Reserve.
5. To assemble, slice the rolls in half horizontally. Rub both sliced sides with the garlic clove and brush with the olive oil. Spread the tapenade evenly on the tops of the rolls.
6. On the bottom of the rolls, start with a layer of tomato slices, dividing evenly among the rolls. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons fleur de sel. Working in tight layers on each bottom, add the fennel-artichoke mix, the tuna, the quail egg, the radish-onion mixture and one filet of anchovy. Finish with a leaf of baby romaine.
7. Cover the sandwiches with the reserved top halves. Roll the sandwiches very tightly in plastic wrap, then wrap tightly in foil.
8. Store overnight in the refrigerator. Cut in half and serve.
Each sandwich: 485 calories; 22 grams protein; 48 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 22 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 93 mg. cholesterol; 1,777 mg. sodium