Happy National Picnic Day ~ 4.23.16 ~ Here is a great sandwich to make for your next picnic. Remember that this year is the National Park Service Centennial, so plan to visit a park and plan your picnic food. This sandwich is perfect because it doesn't contain mayonnaise so it travels really well. The flavor of the pesto gives this sandwich its extraordinary flavor. What makes my pesto special? Thanks for asking, it's made with asparagus AND basil. It's a wonderful way to savor the fresh spring asparagus that will be in season for the next few months. I live in Michigan and our asparagus growing season starts in May and ends in June, it's roughly a 6 week season. We are home to The National Asparagus Festival in Oceana County, Michigan. The festival dates this year are June 10-12, 2016 and if you love asparagus, this is something that you need to put on your to-do list. While you're in Oceana County for the asparagus festival, make sure you check out the world famous Silver Lake Sand Dunes. It is a great place to vacation with your kids, so many things to do. We are doing a Michigan asparagus food tour in May, so stay tuned to my blog for some footage of that. I will be blogging about all the ways to use asparagus and filming throughout the food and farm tour. So, if you are curious on how asparagus is grown, picked and packaged, then you'll want to check out my blog in the middle of May. It's going to be EPIC!
Salumi Sammies with Asparagus Pesto
- 1 loaf (14-16 ounces) focaccia bread (I used asiago parmesan focaccia)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ pound fresh asparagus, steamed (or 1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup parmesan
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound salumi, assorted thinly sliced Italian cured meats (I used capicola, mortadella, prosciutto and soppressata)
- ½ pound thinly sliced cheeses (I used swiss, provolone and cheddar)
- Cut focaccia bread in half, horizontally.
- Add the basil, asparagus and garlic to a food processor and process until well blended. Then add oil, parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper and pulse to thoroughly combine. Taste and add more oil, parmesan, lemon juice or seasonings as needed.
- Spread a thin layer of pesto to the cut sides of the bread.
- Add the meat layer to the focaccia bottom, then layer on the cheese.
- Add the focaccia top and cut into desired sizes.
Note - If I am making this for an appetizer, I cut small slices and add a toothpick for easy finger food. This will typically yield about 16 small bites. If I am making this for a lunch sandwich, then I cut into larger sizes and it will yield approximately 6-8 slices.
I normally add pine nuts or pistachios to my pesto, but I don't add nuts when I'm putting pesto on a sandwich. I used to make these all the time for my daughters sporting events because the kids loved them. But most kids, especially kids with nut allergies, wouldn't think that nuts would be on a sandwich so I stopped adding nuts to pesto when I'm making it for a crowd.
This is a sandwich that you can mix and match your meats and cheeses. So, make this with your favorites. Enjoy!