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The Whole Loaf
May 9th, 2006

So I suppose I should discuss what caused Jim and me to eat an entire loaf of bread for lunch. I've had this Deborah Madison recipe tagged forever - it's a tomato sandwich where you take a round loaf of bread, slice it in two horizontally, pull out the insides, layer it with sliced tomatoes and an herb salad, and then put the cap back on and cut it into wedges. Then on Friday I was listening to the Splendid Table Podcast on the way home and Lynne Rossetto Kasper was talking to a student who called in looking for some cheap, transportable lunch ideas. She suggested doing something similar with a loaf of bread using mashed chickpeas and basically building a salad on top.

I haven't made the Deborah Madison sandwich yet because I'm waiting for tomato season, but listening to Lynne made me realize I could give it a try using different filling ingredients (duh). So I picked up a round multi-grain loaf (Mille Gran from Essential Baking for you Seattle folks) and some oil-cured olives at the grocery store, and Saturday at lunchtime I set to work constructing my sandwich. Now I've described exactly what I put in mine in the recipe below, but the sandwich I came up with was determined mainly by what I had on hand, particularly the Tomato Confit I posted about last week. If anyone else decides to take a crack at this sandwich idea I'd suggest you let yourself be inspired by what's in your fridge, or what sounds good at the store that day.

I ended up making two different tapenade-like spreads - a rustic chickpea and tomato confit paste and a more classic roasted red pepper, olive, and basil tapenade. These ingredients could easily have been merged into one big spread, all the flavors go together, but it was more fun for me (if totally non-essential) to create two layers of flavor. I also added some paper thin slices of Granny Smith apple and red radish, which I completely forgot about until now and left out of the recipe. They added some crunch but were (obviously) fairly forgettable.

I think the fact that Jim and I consumed the entire sandwich for lunch should tell you that we liked the outcome. If you are serving normal people however, you should be able to slice this into six wedges. The whole sandwich wrapped snugly in plastic wrap would be ideal for a picnic, and the wedges travel well in a brown bag lunch. As an added bonus, the recipe created tapenade leftovers and for lunch this week I've been having delicious sandwiches of toasted sprouted wheat bread spread with tapenade, a thick slice of cheddar, spring salad greens, and a pickle. Since I don't normally eat sandwiches for lunch, this feels like a nice treat.


Double Tapenade Sandwich

1 loaf good multi-grain bread, round or thumb shaped
1/2 can chickpeas
1/4 cup tomato confit or sundried tomatoes in olive oil
1 roasted red bell pepper
3 cloves roasted garlic or 1 clove reg garlic
small handful of oil cured olives
small handful of basil leaves
mixed spring salad greens
4 slices of ripe tomato
squeeze of lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
thin slices of a sharp tangy cheese like fontina, feta, or parmesan


Slice the top off the bread horizontally, about a third of the way down so you have a bottom piece and a little cap-like top. Pull the inside out of both pieces of bread - you can whir these in a food processor to make bread crumbs and freeze them for later use. Brush the interiors of the bread with olive oil.

In a blender or food processor, work the chickpeas with the tomato confit and enough water to make a thick lumpy paste. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Spread this on the bottom piece of bread, but don't clean out the blender. Now process the roasted bell pepper, garlic, olives, and basil again adding a bit of olive oil and/or water if necessary to form a tapenade like paste. Spread a layer of this on top of the chickpea paste.

Toss the salad greens with the olive oil and lemon, add some salt and pepper and add to the sandwich. Salt and pepper the tomato slices as well and layer them on. Add the cheese to taste and put the top on the sandwich. Press down to compress all the layers together and wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap. Let sit for twenty minutes or so to let the flavors soak into the bread then cut into wedges and serve.

-Kymm
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© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com