When Italy comes to mind, Italian food is not far behind. And then next thoughts tend towards pasta. Or gelato. Or cheese. Or pizza. Or gelato. (Yes, gelato is deserving of a double mention, since I tend to eat it twice daily when I am there)
The thing missing from most Italian food lexicons are the amazing sandwiches. Not the panninis that have become Americanized to the point of not being actually Italian anymore (we could have the same conversation about most pizzas).
I’m talking about the quick sandwiches on long thin loaves of crusty bread. They are found in train stations and Italian bodegas and are designed to be serviceable and travel easily. With stellar but simple ingredients they are well worth a trip to a train station.
We first became acquainted with these guys in Florence – our train was delayed and then delayed again. We were getting anxious – we had a day to get back to Rome in order to catch a flight to Istanbul. Forgetting my travel mantra that ‘everything works out and if it doesn’t there is a reason’ I was having nightmare visions of a mad scramble and missing our flight anyway.
I’ve found that when I am traveling and have a moment of panic, it has a root in being hungry. If I take a deep breath followed by a bite of something delicious my nomadic fears travel on.
With all that being said, I wanted to share my favorite Train Station Sandwich – the one that saved my sanity in Florence. With only 4 ingredients it hits every note: crusty, creamy, salty, peppery. It was good enough that we even made a special trip TO the terminal just to get a one.
So, here it is:
- Bread – a crusty Italian answer to the French baguette
- Ricotta – taking care of the sweet and creamy notes
- Prosciutto – rich and salty as a contrast
- Arugula – peppery and tart for a slight bitter note
– Lydia, constantly craving ricotta