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Tips to add panache to your quick sandwiches

September 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Paninis, grinders, "the hero" - all names for the good old-fashioned sandwich, but many of us make our same old "Sammie" the same old way. Here are some healthy, tasty ways to stack it up."First and foremost, I start thinking about combinations that make sense to me that I like to eat," said Chef Vic Casanova of Culina at The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. "I think about what's fresh, seasonal, local, available, and then start thinking about textural contrast and that kind of thing."

Casanova said the best way to think outside the box is to stock up on flavorful extras at the market, so when it's time for a sassy lunch, you're prepared.

"When you go to the market, you could pick up a few different types of salad, a few different types of seasonal fruit," Casanova said.

His open-faced Ahi Tuna Panini features quite a few tastes and textures.

"You have this herbaceousness from the fennel, you have a nice spice from the salsa verde and you have the richness and the depth from the tuna," Casanova said.

For his Pollo Panini recipe, Casanova whips the goat cheese to make it light and fluffy, and to keep it healthy, he uses a whole wheat pizza crust, with three different type of greens topped with a white balsamic vinaigrette.

"Then we have a cranberry jam, roasted pulled chicken and you're on your way," Casanova said.

He also suggested a wrap with heirloom tomatoes, smoked salmon, romaine, spicy mustard - all rolled up in a grilled Lavosh.

Casanova said think about contrast; not just taste but also texture, smooth with crunchy, something mellow, topped with a little bit of heat.

And of course as an Italian cooking for an Italian restaurant, his tried and true topping is lemon and olive oil.

"Sometimes there's nothing better than a good squeeze of lemon and a little olive oil," he said.

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