Ciabatta bread is a crunchy, crusty roll used for making sandwiches. This bread is also called "Italian slipper bread," as its rectangular shape vaguely resembles a bed slipper. The texture and structure of this bread allows it to soak up juices from sandwich fillings without becoming soggy, as other bread choices do. Try it for extra crunch to your sandwiches.
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Chef Sandra Lee uses ciabatta bread as the base for a sandwich filled with thinly-sliced London broil steak. Mayonnaise blended with pesto creates the dressing for the bread. Tomatoes are the only vegetable she uses in her recipe to dress the sandwich. The sturdy ciabatta rolls supports the steak without the sandwich falling apart. For added flavour and texture, toast the split ciabatta rolls on the grill while you cook the London broil, or use a hamburger patty instead of the sliced beef for a twist on a standard burger.
Since ciabatta is an Italian bread, it makes sense to pile it with Italian deli meats and cheeses such as salami and provolone. A recipe from Betty Crocker uses salami and provolone with an olive tapenade mixture, romaine lettuce and tomatoes. Make this sandwich your own by using other Italian meats such as prociutto, pepperoni or pastrami. Add roasted red peppers for colour and flavour, or as a substitute for the tomato slices on the sandwich.
Chicken and Zucchini
Grilled or roasted chicken with zucchini and ricotta is a hearty sandwich recipe suggested by Simply Recipes. Ricotta cheese is baked onto the cut sides of a split ciabatta roll until it bubbles. The sandwich is then piled with cooked chicken slices, shredded zucchini and tomato slices. Change this recipe, and top the ricotta-topped ciabatta halves with pizza or marinara sauce and pepperoni slices, ham slices or mozzarella cheese and grilled chicken for a hand-held toasted pizza sandwich.
Vegetarian Pressed Sandwich
The crunchy exterior of the ciabatta bread makes it an ideal bread option for pressed sandwiches. In a recipe from Chow, the ciabatta bread absorbs the juices from roasted eggplant, peppers and goat cheese in a vegetarian sandwich alternative to meat-filled options. Use the same concept of a pressed sandwich and add your own ingredients such as sliced meats, or replace the roasted eggplant with sliced, roasted summer squash or zucchini. Opt for your favourite creamy cheese, if you do not like goat cheese. The important factor for a pressed sandwich is to wrap the sandwich in plastic and press it for at least 20 minutes. This allows the flavours to combine and the bread to become flavoured from the sandwich filling liquids.
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