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Italian Pressed Ciabatta Sandwiches

Italian Pressed Ciabatta Sandwiches
Pressed overnight to blend all of the bright Italian flavors, this hearty sandwich is a winner for a summer picnic. It's a make ahead loaf that you cut up and serve right away or wrap for portability. 
These sandwiches keep really well and heat up beautifully! Why not make a loaf for quick and easy lunches next week?
Italian Pressed Ciabatta Sandwiches
To start this lovely sandwich, I buy a loaf of ciabatta bread and cut the whole thing in half. I find this is easiest using an electric carving knife.
After the sandwich loaf is completed, I slice it in half lengthwise and then into individual sandwiches. I used foil pop-up sheets to wrap them for our last weekend of concerts at Maryhill Winery.
I put them in a large plastic container to keep them from getting smashed by heavier items and kept them in a cooler with ice until we were ready to eat. Then everyone ate them up! 
These are really easy to share if you happen to a part of a larger group or pot luck as we usually are.
Italian Pressed Ciabatta Sandwiches
I really love the bold Italian flavors in this sandwich. Layers and layers of meats and cheeses, the salty green olive tapenade and garlicky pesto all set off by bright pepperoncini's and greens.
I use plenty of olive oil to dress the bread before building the sandwich because ciabatta bread needs olive oil. Olive oil or heat will bring this often very hard and chewy bread back to life and reveals it's wonderful flavor.
It was the perfect thing for a concert picnic at the winery earlier this month.
I made two of these loaves for a concert picnic at Maryhill Winery so we would have plenty to share and a few left over the next day. They were so tasty and we ate most of them up. Lucky for us we had a few left.
They keep very well in the refrigerator and a few days later we enjoyed warming them in the toaster oven. I like to toss mine in completely wrapped in foil until the cheese gets all gooey. My husband likes to toast his open faced to get the crispy edges to go with the gooey cheese. Either way, they were delicious!

Italian Pressed Ciabatta Sandwiches


For the Sandwiches

1 loaf Ciabatta bread

1/2 cup pesto I used Garlic Scape Pesto

1/2 cup green Olive Tapenade

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 pound pastrami

1/4 pound honey ham slices

1 small package prosciutto

18 slices Italian dry salami

6 slices havarti

6 slices provolone

6 slices pepperjack

sliced pepperoncini's

spinach or arugula leaves

sliced red onion (optional)



Assemble the Sandwiches the day before serving

Slice the entire loaf of ciabatta in half as illustrated in the pictures above. This is easiest done with an electric carving knife.

Lightly spread both cut sides of the loaf with olive oil then spread the bottom half of the sandwich loaf with the tapenade. Sprinkle the top of the sandwich loaf lightly with salt & pepper.

Begin layering the rest of the ingredients on the bottom of the sandwich as listed in the ingredients above or as you like. Spread the top of the sandwich with the pesto and place the top on the sandwich loaf.

Wrap the sandwich loaf tightly in plastic wrap then place the loaf on a baking sheet with another baking sheet on top and weight the top with barbell weights, cans of beans or other heavy items. Place the sandwich loaf in the refrigerator to press overnight. 

When ready to serve or pack for the picnic, cut the loaf into individual sandwiches. I like to use an electric knife for this also.

Serve immediately or wrap in foil or parchment sheets to take along on your next summer adventure!

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