Summer is a time for creativity, since you typically have more time on your hands. That’s why I love summer dates – and what is the best (and least expensive) summer date? Picnics! Whether you are going with a group of friends or your significant other, picnics are awesome. There is something about eating outside that is a lot of fun! However if you’re trying to impress someone with your culinary skills, you can’t show up with plain ham and cheese on white bread. You simply have to kick it up a notch – and I have got you covered. I have compiled a list of five delicious (and pretty easy) sandwiches that are sure to wow anyone.
1. The Cuban
Now the Cuban is my personal favorite, and even though you make it as a hot sandwich, you can serve it at room temperature. This makes it a great take along sandwich – and it’s also pretty easy to make.
1 loaf Cuban bread (or any decent bread)
¼ cup yellow mustard
8 slices Swiss cheese, about ½ pound
16 slices maple glazed honey ham, about 1 pound
16 slices of pork loin
8 – 12 slices dill pickle planks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Slice the loaf of bread into 4 equal pieces and then each piece lengthwise. Spread the butter on the outside of each half and then spread the mustard on the inside of each half.
Cover the inside of each half with Swiss cheese.
On one half of each sandwich, layer 4 slices of maple glazed honey ham and 4 slices of pork loin.
Place 2 -3 pickle planks on top of the ham and then close the sandwich.
Place the sandwich in a sauté pan, heat over medium-high heat. Transfer the sandwich to the pan and then place a flat-bottomed dish like a baking dish or smaller pot on top weighted with something heavy, like a sack of flour or canned food. Cook 2- 3 minutes per side.
Transfer the sandwich to a cutting board and slice in half. Wrap that bad boy in foil and get ready!
2. Green Goddess Sandwich
If you’re looking for a sandwich that is a little healthier and fresh, this is a good choice. It is a little more time consuming, but definitely worth it. You don’t have to make the Green Goddess Mayo from scratch, you can also mix one part mayo and two parts Green Goddess Dressing. I have included it just in case you’re feeling enthusiastic.
Green Goddess Mayonnaise:
1/3 cup packed basil leaves
1/3 cup packed tarragon leaves
1/3 cup packed chopped chives
2 medium-large garlic cloves
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup good mayonnaise (such as Spectrum’s olive oil mayonnaise)
Pickled spring onions (makes enough for 4-6 sandwiches):
2 spring onions, bulb thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 slices hearty bread
1/2 a small, ripe avocado, sliced
2 fat slices fresh mozzarella
1 medium-sized green tomato (or other heirloom tomato), sliced
A few thin slices cucumber
Several slices pickled onion
A handful of sprouts (such as broccoli sprouts), rinsed and dried
A couple of small lettuce leaves (butter or romaine), rinsed and dried
Make the mayonnaise:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients except for the lemon juice (i.e., the basil, tarragon, chives, garlic, anchovies, lemon zest, salt, and mayonnaise) in the bowl of a food processor. Puree smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the lemon juice. Chill until needed.
Pickle the onions:
In a medium-sized jar, combine the onions slices, vinegar, sugar, salt, and peppercorns. Put the lid on the jar and let sit for at least 10 minutes, shaking a few times to dissolve the salt and sugar. Use immediately or refrigerate until needed, up to 1 week.
Assemble the sandwiches:
Toast the bread and spread both slices with a thick layer of the mayonnaise. Top with the avocado, mozzarella, tomato, cucumber, pickled onion, sprouts, and lettuce. Sandwich with the other slice of bread and press down gently. Optionally wrap the sandwich in parchment or secure with two toothpicks, and slice in half with a sharp serrated bread knife or chef’s knife.
3. Caprese Sandwich
This Caprese Sandwich takes a twist by being toasted with melted mozzarella, and creamy parsley pesto. The sandwich is perfect for an everyday lunch or a picnic! One of the easier sandwiches to make, this one is great to throw together at the last minute!
1-2 Loaves French bread (gluten free if you’re gluten free)
1 tomato, sliced
6 slices fresh ball mozzarella cheese, halved
6 tablespoons Parsley Pesto
Slice loaf in half.
Add mozzarella cheese slices and tomato slices along the bottom of the sandwich. Place in the oven for a few minutes to toast and melt the cheese.
Spread the parsley pesto on the top of the sandwich. Press the sandwich closed.
4. Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels
Tortillas are my favorite vehicle for any food, especially sandwiches, and what is more fun than pinwheels? I mean, who doesn’t love tiny sandwiches? These Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels have all of the flavors of buffalo chicken dip stuffed into a tortilla pinwheel. The perfect bite-sized snack for a low key picnic!
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
6 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Frank’s Red hot sauce
3 green onions, thinly sliced
4 – 6 inch flour tortillas
Mix chicken, cream cheese, hot sauce and green onions until combined.
Spread on to tortillas. Wrap tortillas up jelly-roll style and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Pop into the fridge to chill for 10 minutes. If serving later, individually wrap rolls in plastic, before cutting and chill in the fridge.
Garnish with sliced green onion.
5. Grilled Chicken Melt with Sun Dried Tomato Spread & Pesto
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (or buy the pre-cooked grilled chicken)
salt and pepper
6 ciabatta rolls halved as for sandwiches
extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
6 tablespoons pesto
6 slices fresh mozzarella
Lay out the chicken thighs and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper.
Heat grill to medium. When the grill is up to temperature, lay out the chicken thighs. Grill the thighs, turning a couple of times, for 10-12 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part reaches 165°F. If you decided to use store bought grilled chicken, just heat the chicken in a pan until hot.
Just before removing the chicken from the grill, lay out one slice of mozzarella over the chicken. While that begins to melt, drizzle olive oil over the cut sides of the ciabatta rolls and lay them directly on the grill. Once the cheeses is hot all the way through, use a spatula to transfer the thighs and toasted rolls to a platter.
Spread 1 tablespoon of the Sun-Dried Tomato spread on the bottom, half of each roll, then 1 tablespoon of the pesto on the top half of each roll. Use a spatula to transfer one chicken thigh, melted cheese side up onto each roll’s bottom half. Position the top half, pesto side down, on the chicken. If desired, slice the sandwich in half on the diagonal. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature.
So there you go, you are ready to impress people with your culinary abilities. Your friends will be drooling over these sandwiches and begging you to cook all the time. Make sure to bring some fruit and drinks in your cooler, a blanket, and the ultimate playlist – and now you’re ready for a picnic that the cooking channel would love to be at.