During my sophomore year of college, I developed a ritual of going downtown to a certain café whenever I had to write a paper. I would order their club panini and outline my paper on index cards while I ate. For a whole year, each paper that I outlined while eating a club panini received an A. The one or two times that I didn’t make it downtown to organize my thoughts, I earned a lesser grade. Needless to say, this reinforced my superstition about the magical powers of the sandwich, so when I found myself 400 miles away from my beloved café, faced with a long research paper to write, I set about recreating it at home.
By the time I was working on my undergraduate thesis, it no longer seemed financially or gastronomically feasible to sit and eat sandwiches while outlining what would turn into a 70-page tome, and my ritual was thus ended. Luckily, I pulled off an A on my thesis anyway, but I still like to think this sandwich has certain brainpower-boosting properties.
- 4 slices of sourdough bread
- 4 slices of oven-roasted turkey lunchmeat
- 6 large strawberries, sliced
- white cheddar cheese, sliced
- margarine or butter
- Spread a thin layer of margarine or butter on one side of each slice of bread.
- For each sandwich, layer 2 slices of turkey on unbuttered side of the bread. Place sliced cheese on top of turkey, and then sliced strawberries on top of cheese. Put remaining pieces of bread on top of strawberries, with buttered side facing up.
- Using medium-low heat, cook sandwiches in a non-stick or cast iron frying pan (buttered sides touching the pan). Be careful not to turn the heat up too high, or you’ll end up with a sandwich that has nicely-browned bread but unmelted cheese. Cook until golden brown, then flip with a spatula and repeat until both sides are golden brown.
Notes: The original café sandwich also includes strips of bacon. As a semi-vegetarian (i.e., no four-legged animals), I always requested that they omit the bacon, but I’m sure it would be a tasty addition. It also uses sliced tomatoes instead of strawberries, but after smelling the deliciously ripe summer strawberries in my kitchen, I knew I had to tweak the recipe to incorporate them.