Features

The Simple Pleasure of an Open Faced Sandwich

Discovering a region's favored open-faced sandwich is a simple yet delightful experience.

Sauteed Sausage and Four Cheeses Open Faced Sandwich Photo credit: Heidi Marie Wagstaff from "Open Faced Single Slice Sandwiches from Around the World" by Karen Kaplan. Reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith
Karen Kaplan

Karen Kaplan

Karen Kaplan is a freelance writer, editor, translator and recipe developer.

Chickpeas, Spinach, and Chorizo Open Faced Sandwich

Chickpeas, Spinach, and Chorizo Open Faced Sandwich Photo credit: Heidi Marie Wagstaff from "Open Faced Single Slice Sandwiches from Around the World" by Karen Kaplan. Reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith

Spinach is a particular favorite in the large southernmost region of Andalucía (Andalusia), and at tapas bars there, especially in Seville, you will often find a dish of spinach and chickpeas. Here I have added some chorizo for extra flavor. Remember that Spanish chorizo and Mexican chorizo are different. While they are both pork sausages, Mexican chorizo is sold uncooked and is usually removed from its casing, while Spanish chorizo is sold cooked and can be sliced and eaten as you would salami, or it can be heated up. Make sure you buy Spanish chorizo for this dish; whether you buy sweet or spicy is up to you. (If you cannot find it, you can use a sausage such as kielbasa.) I flavor this dish with pimentón, Spanish paprika, and once again, choose sweet or spicy according to your taste. Since chickpeas are devilish creatures, threatening to roll off the bread at every bite, I call for mashing them slightly to mitigate that problem. But if you live for adventure, just forget about that step and leave them whole. Uncork a younger, lighter Tempranillo from Rioja or Ribera del Duero to complement the assertive flavors here.

Preparation

  1. Heat 30 ml (2 tablespoons) oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chorizo and cook until slightly crispy and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes.

2.  Add spinach and stock; sauté until spinach is wilted and dark green. Add chickpeas and 2.5 ml (1 ⁄2 teaspoon) pimentón and cook to heat through, pressing down on chickpeas with potato masher to smash slightly. Season with salt and pepper, adding additional pimentón if desired. Spoon mixture into a serving bowl. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with parsley. Arrange toasted bread on a platter and serve.

Curried Egg Salad with Mango Chutney, Raisins, and Cashews Open Faced Sandwich

Curried Egg with Mango Chutney Open Faced Sandwich Photo credit: Heidi Marie Wagstaff from "Open Faced Single Slice Sandwiches from Around the World" by Karen Kaplan. Reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith

Egg salad is an open-faced sandwich favorite all over the Western world, and I love it in every rendition. This one is a takeoff of one of my favorite chicken salads. I line the bread with watercress for some color and crunch, but if you can’t find it, use baby spinach leaves instead. I prefer Major Grey’s chutney, which is a type of chutney rather than a brand, and is made by several manufacturers, but feel free to use whatever mango chutney you like. Try this for brunch, lunch, or supper. Pair this with a bone-dry white Kerner from the Alto Adige in Italy.

Preparation

  1. Chop eggs and place in a bowl. Add chutney, mayonnaise, celery, raisins, green onion, and curry powder; mix well. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to meld flavors.

2. Toast bread. Arrange toasts on a platter or individual plates. Line each toast with watercress. Mound egg salad atop watercress. Sprinkle 15 ml (1 tablespoon) cashews over each toast and serve.

Sautéed Sausage and Four Cheeses Open Faced Sandwich

Sauteed Sausage and Four Cheeses Open Faced Sandwich Photo credit: Heidi Marie Wagstaff from "Open Faced Single Slice Sandwiches from Around the World" by Karen Kaplan. Reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith

This is one of the simplest and most satisfying crostino there is. You need very few ingredients and very little time to throw together an appetizer that is sure to please. I buy the Quattro Formaggi (four cheese) mix (asiago, Parmesan, fontina, and mild provolone) at Trader Joe’s, but it is also sold at other stores. Of course, you can use any kind or combination of grated Italian cheeses you want, though not mozzarella as it is too stringy. Almost any Italian red would complement this treat, so choose your favorite: one of mine is Montefalco Rosso from Umbria.

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a medium-size heavy skillet over medium heat. Remove sausage from casings and place sausage in skillet; discard casings. Cook sausage until cooked through, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon or pressing meat with a potato masher if finer texture is desired. Using a slotted utensil, transfer sausage to a bowl, leaving rendered fat in the skillet. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the skillet. (If not enough fat has been rendered, add olive oil to make up the difference.) Add onion and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer onion and garlic to the sausage and mix well. Add 1 tablespoon oregano and mix well.

2. Preheat broiler. Arrange crostini on baking sheets. Add cheese to the sausage mixture and toss well. Mound mixture onto each crostino. Broil until cheese melts. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with fresh oregano, and serve immediately.