As some of you may know, I consult as a project manager for Despaña, a wholesale, distributor and retailer of Spanish food products. From time to time my posts contain links to some the amazing products they offer. With so many wonderful items in the store (and online) I find tons of inspiration and ways to incorporate them into a few of my recipes.
However, this recipe harkens back to a few years back, when at the store, we were looking for ways to help promote some apple marmalade. It was autumn in New York and apples were ripe for the picking. I thought the perfect combination would be to highlight apples two ways; preserved and crisp fresh. Since it would be used for a special promotion, the offering of a small sandwich featuring the marmalade along with fresh apples, some smoky cheese and Despaña’s own brand of spicy sausage called Chistorra seemed like a good union. The sandwich was popular at the time and served the purpose of showcasing the apple marmalade.
Well, it is again autumn in New York, a spectacular time of year with trees flaming bursts of color that make rainbows seems dull. Take a moment of Ahhh here.
Given the season, I thought I would revive and recreate my original sandwich but swap out a few items. Apples are in full glory now and hopefully you had the chance to go pick a few or just grab some at the market so you can try this recipe out.
Behold, the sandwich featuring apples both cooked and fresh. When served along with a roasted tomato soup, it's perfect for a chilly Saturday afternoon... or any afternoon.
APPLE BUTTER SPICY SAUSAGE SANDWICH
Chistorra*, or a spicy chorizo or even a salami
Smoky Cheese of your choice like Smoked Gouda
(originally I used Ahumado de Pria*, a Spanish smoky cow's milk cheese. A sharp Cheddar would also work nicely)
Apple Butter** (or Apple Marmalade)
Apple slices (I like the sourness of a green apple, but use what you like)
**Apple butter recipe is at the bottom of this post.
This is an assembly and grilling of a panino style sandwich than more anything else. Grill the Chistorra sausage and cut them lengthwise so they lay nicely in the sandwich. Spread some apple butter on both sides of the bread.
Layer the cheese, apple slices and sausage. Close ‘er up and grill in a Panini press or as I do, use a cast iron pan and put something heavy on top.
This combination has sweet and tart, spicy and smoky, crunchy and gooey. Seriously, how can you not love all those adjectives. And for the vegetarians, just remove the sausage, add more apples and more cheese. Now, that can't be bad!
Now to take this to the ultimate pairing level, you'll want to add the roasted tomato soup. I know you are going to say, “what’s your fascination with tomatoes?” But if you have tried roasting them as I have suggested you will understand why there is no need to answer that question. Plus, given that I suggested you make a boat load of roasted tomatoes, it's in my best interest to continue finding ways to use them. This round - Make soup!
TOMATO SOUP - OVEN ROASTED OF COURSE
16-18 roasted tomatoes
1 carrot, diced
¼ c diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 quart vegetable or chicken stock, or water
Sauté the carrots, garlic and onion until tender. Add the liquid and let warm through. If you have just made the roasted tomatoes then you can add those once the liquid is warm ensuring that you pour in the oil from the pan. (Reserve a little to drizzle on the top for serving.) If you are defrosting them from your frozen stock (He he) then put those in with the liquid and then let everything warm through together.
Using an emulsion blender, or a regular blender, puree it all up until you get the consistency you like. Now if you want a little decadence, before blending it up, lower the heat and stir in some cream and warm through. Although, I don't think it needs it. I much prefer drizzling a little of the roasting oil and adding a few chunks of cheese. Serve up a bowl with your sandwich and peer through your window and listen to the rustle of the leaves.
This flavored butter is made simply by cutting apples into small pieces and stewing them with some honey and a squeeze of lemon. Slowly cook until they are super soft. Let cool and work into a whole stick of room temperature, softened butter. Put in an airtight container and store in fridge until ready to use.
*Please note: If you are interested in buying Chistorra and Ahumado de Pria from Despaña order by phone at 888.779.8617. After Nov. 11, you will be able to order online at www.despanabrandfoods.com