The first day of summer. Father’s Day. Both have special places in my mind and heart. My dad lived for summer. The proliferation of his garden. His skills on the backyard grill, turning tough cuts into tender deliciousness.
Last year, I did a different salad every day of the summer season. While it certainly tested my creativity and my patience at times, I’m doing the idea again this year. This time it will be sandwiches. From June 21 to September 22 this year, I’ll do a different sandwich every day. There’s been basic planning involved, like reading about different cultures and their versions of the sandwich. The Swedish smörgäs, the Italian panini, Greek pitas, Lebanese manoush, Japanese sando, plus many twists within North America involving the sandwich. The grilled cheese, chicken salad sandwiches, wraps, soft tacos. But overall, I haven’t really mapped a whole lot ahead of time. It’s like culinary improv.
Firstly, I’m exploring my own heritage or more specifically, my dad’s heritage, Hungarian. While there’s plenty of bread, cheese, cured meats and pickles in Hungary, they don’t generally assemble them in a sandwich as such. The closest thing historically, to resemble a sandwich, would be the street food Lángos. While I’ve blogged about Lángos before, it was as the sweet preparation with icing (powdered) sugar. In the cities of Hungary, this famous frybread can be spread with sour cream or other creamy spread, sprinkled with cheese and topped with cured meats like salami.
Today, my first sandwich will be Lángos with Fresco (sheep’s milk cream cheese), Crispy Salami Strips and Pecorino. Enjoy and stay tuned each day of summer for more sandwiches!!
Multigrain Lángos with Fresco, Crispy Salami Strips and Pecorino
For the Multigrain Lángos:
1 cup spelt flour (or a finely milled whole wheat flour)
2/3 cup red fife flour (or a whole wheat bread flour)
1/3 cup rye flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp dry active yeast
1/2 tsp brown sugar
2-3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
In a large bowl, combine the spelt, red fife and rye flour with your fingers until uniformly combined. Make a depression in the centre of the pile of flour mixture. Sprinkle the salt around the edge of the perimeter of the flour. Add the warm water to the centre of the depression. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar into the warm water. Stir gently with a fork and allow the yeast to bloom for about 10 minutes until frothy.
Start to stir the flour mixture into the bubbly yeast mixture until a soft, yet slightly sticky dough comes together. Turn the dough, with any remaining flour mixture, on to the counter and knead until smooth and only slightly sticky (about 10 minutes). Place in a lightly oiled, large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for at least an hour.
Divide the risen dough into four equal portions.
Heat 2-3 cups of vegetable oil in a wok or large pot over medium heat to a temperature of 190C/375F.
Stretch each portion of dough until it is so thin that it tears in places. Gently lay each stretched portion of dough into the preheated oil. Fry for 30-45 seconds on each side, until lightly golden. Repeat with remaining dough. Set aside to drain on paper towels.
Prepared Multigrain Lángos
100g/4 oz (about 1/2 cup total) Fresco cheese (or any cream cheese or chevre)
100g/4 oz hot Hungarian salami, cut into strips and fried in 1/2 tsp oil over medium heat for 45 seconds until crispy
50g/2 oz pecorino cheese, grated, to serve
On each prepared Multigrain Lángos, spread about 2 Tbsp Fresco cheese. Scatter some crispy salami strips over the Fresco. Finish with a light shredding of pecorino and serve. Serves 4.