Uncommonly Good

Balsamic Ham and Salami Panino

According to Wikipedia: A panino is a sandwich made from a small loaf of bread, typically a ciabatta (an Italian white bread). The bread is cut horizontally and filled with salami, ham, meat, cheese or other food and sometimes served hot. A grilled panino is buttered on the outside and grilled in a press.

Even though I used French bread, I’m calling this a Balsamic Ham and Salami Panino.

  • Turn the heat to medium high and put the bread face-down on the grill to warm while you slice red peppers and part of a purple onion.
  • When the grill is hot, saute the veggies in extra virgin olive oil. When the veggies are tender, move them to the side and throw on the salami and ham.
  • As the meat warms I sprinkle it all with Janz and toss it together with tongs to mix the flavors. Add a splatter of Balsamic Vinegar just before you put the sandwich together.

To build the sandwich:

  1. Start with slices of Provolone on both halves of the warm bread
  2. Put strips of pepper and onion on top of the cheese
  3. Add layers of salami and ham
  4. Splatter the grill with a little more olive oil if needed and put the sandwich together on hot grill
  5. Press with a sandwich press* if you have one. If you don’t have a press, use the bottom of another iron skillet.
  6. When bottom of sandwich is brown, turn and press the other side. You’ll know it’s done when the cheese starts to drip down and sizzle on the grill.
  7. Serve with additional Balsamic Vinegar for dipping.


*My “sandwich press” is actually a bacon press. I bought it new a few years ago. I think it just cost $3-4 at the time.

June 7, 2008 Posted by | Sandwich | , , , | Leave a comment

Sort of a Reuben—but not really

The only thing like a Reuben about this is the sauerkraut.
And it’s grilled.
And it’s good.

Turn the burner to the high end of medium before you start and the grill, or skillet, will be hot and ready when you are.

Here’s what I had on hand:

  • Dark 100% whole wheat bread
  • Stone Ground Dijon Mustard
  • Provolone Cheese
  • Deli Sliced Pastrami
  • Sauerkraut, squeeze out all the liquid before adding it to the top
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil sprayed on the bread and on the grill

The press is optional, but it will smoosh all the layers together and melt the cheese into the pastrami on the bottom and the sauerkraut on top.


PS. The next day I wanted another one of these but was out of pastrami and provolone. I substituted Mozzarella cheese and deli ham and it was just as good but in a different way.

June 7, 2008 Posted by | Sandwich | | Leave a comment

Pastrami, Salami, Balsamic Sandwich

This hearty filling sandwich was for my 18-year-old son so I loaded it with a huge pile of pastrami, salami, red pepper, red onion and seasoned it with Janz and a couple of vinegars—it was good to the last bite.

I start by turning on the heat under my handy dandy iron griddle. I cut a seasme seed hoagie in half and laid it flat on the grill to toast.

While the griddle and hoagie heat up, slice a chunk of red pepper into thin slivers and cut a few slices off a fat red onion and separate the rings onto the griddle with the red pepper. When the bread is slightly toasted remove it from the griddle and throw on the pepper and onion. Give it a splash of extra virgin olive oil and use tongs to toss it all together with a substantial dose of Janz Seasoning Blend and some red wine vinegar.

When the veggies are tender add the salami and pastrami to the pile and add more seasoning and red wine vinegar. When the meat is warm and browing splatter with Balsamic Vinegar and toss the meat and veggies again. Put the hoagie on top of the pile of meat to warm.

To prepare the sandwich, take the bread off the griddle and put slices of provolone cheese on the bread while it’s still warm. Use the tongs to place the onion and peppers on top of the cheese then pile on the meat and top with more onions and pepper. Grate mozzarella cheese on top of the pile.

Turns out, this sandwich was gigantic and there was no way to smash it into a biteable layer. So I put it back on the griddle.
I did my best to poke all the insides between the layers of bread and then pressed it with an iron bacon press. I first spritzed the press with oil to keep it from sticking. A iron skillet would also work for this.

There was a stray red pepper, but when it was done, but after I flipped the sandwich to brown it on both sides, you could get your mouth around it.

Cut the sandwich into half and serve it with a small bowl of balsamic vinegar for dipping.

Pretty tasty!

June 4, 2008 Posted by | Sandwich | , , | Leave a comment

Spicy Red Snapper with Mango Salsa


That’s the only way to describe this recipe. And it’s very easy!
With a substantial green salad it’s easily a full meal.

The original recipe called for Red Snapper, but I’ve made it with Orange Roughy, Flounder, and most recently with Talapia.

It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Start Rice
  2. Make Mango Salsa
  3. Bake Fish

Here are the details.

1. Start Rice

I generally use brown rice, which takes a bit longer to prepare. I use a rice steamer and follow the directions. I start the rice first, and the meal is usually ready to serve when the rice the steamer shuts off about 45 minutes later.

2. Make Mango Salsa

Combine in medium mixing bowl:

  • 1 mango peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 C thinly sliced green onion
  • Variation: (in this version) 2 kiwi, peeled and diced
  • Optional: 1 Scotch bonnet, or hot green chili pepper, seeded and diced very fine. I usually use a Serrano Pepper or a couple of Jalapenos, but I’ve also thrown in a Habanero, just for kicks.


  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1/2 t lime zest
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper

Stir together.
Just prior to serving stir in 2-3 T chopped cilantro.

3. Bake Fish
1 lb. Red Snapper, fresh or frozen (defrosted, of course)
Rinse, pat dry with paper towels.
Brush with 1 T lime juice, mixed with 1 T water.
Rub with Spicy Fish Seasoning*:

  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t ginger
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/4 t pepper

In shallow baking dish, bake uncovered in 450° oven until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Allow 4-6 minutes for each 1/2″ of thickness.

To serve brush with pan juices and serve with Mango Salsa
Garnish with lime slices and cilantro.

To pull it all together, start with a pile of rice, add fish to the side and top it all with the mango salsa. Garnish with lime slices and cilantro.
Oh. My. Gosh.

IF there are leftovers I put it all together in a plastic container. Usually the fish is gone, but there might be rice and mango salsa left over. I’ll eat the leftovers as a light snack within a day or so.

*After I realized how much I like this I made this Spicy Fish Rub in bulk and I keep it in a shaker bottle with my herbs and spices. It’s always handy to sprinkle on fish to use in this recipe.

June 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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