“This is a delicious vegetarian sandwich that is light and just right for a summer lunch on a hot afternoon,” says Sasha Muniak, founder and owner of Mangia. The reason for the extra step of “washing” the feta cheese the night before is to remove some of its saltiness. It is a simple procedure, requiring nothing more than changing the water once or twice, and it makes a difference in the way the feta tastes.
We have tapenades on hand as a matter of course. If you don’t, use a store-bought black or green olive paste here. Both are readily available in jars at most supermarkets and are useful to have on hand for additional bursts of flavor on sandwiches or even stirred into the pasta. But make our tapenade when you have the time. It stores beautifully. (The recipe for Tapenade is below as well).
2 chuck imported feta cheese, 2 pounds
2 ripe yellow tomatoes
1 large red onion
6 individual semolina heroes or 12 slices of semolina bread
¾ cup Tapenade (recipe below)
- The night before you make the sandwiches, place the feta cheese in a bowl and cover it with water. Store in the refrigerator, changing the water once or twice before using the cheese.
- Wash, trim, and thinly slice the tomatoes. Peel, trim and slice the red onion as thin as possible.
- Rinse the feta, pat dry it, and then slice: If you handle the cheese carefully, you can cut ½-inch slices. In any case, slice the cheese as best as you can, making sure you have enough for 6 sandwiches.
- When ready to make sandwiches, set out all the ingredients in front of you, in an assembly line. Cut the heroes in half horizontally. Smear the 6 bottom halves or 6 of the bread slices generously with tapenade, spreading it to the edges. Arrange the slices of feta on top, then add a layer of tomatoes, and finally a layer of onion rings. Top the sandwiches with the bun halves of remaining bread, pressing down hard on them. Cut the sandwiches in half, serve.
Prepping in advance: You will need to start soaking the feta the night before you plan to use it.
Tapenade, on the other hand, can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 month—which is to say you can make way in advance.
You can use tapenade in sandwiches, as a dip, or to dress grilled fish, spread on toast as an appetizer, or swirl into vegetable soup. “It’s a delicious ‘put-it-on-everything food,” says Sasha Muniak, founder of Mangia. The powerful flavors of Provence—olives and garlic—plus oil-packed anchovies, give it its singular Mediterranean esprit.
2 cups Nicoise olives, pitted
6 anchovy fillets packed in oil
1 garlic clove
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon drained capers
In a food processor or blender, put the olives, anchovies, garlic, and lemon juice. With the on/off button, start pureeing the mixture, adding the olive oil gradually, and pulsing the machine, until you have a paste as thick as mayonnaise. Scrape the Tapenade out of the processor into a bowl, and stir in the capers. Keep covered in the refrigerator for 1 month.