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Sandwich of Substance

January 20, 1994|MARIE SIMMONS

Sometimes a sandwich is just right for supper. Of course, you want more than a few slices of cold cuts slapped between two slices of bread. You want sandwiches of substance. Something you can sink your teeth into and taste in layers, like the following recipe for a club sandwich that I have re-christened the Dagwood Italiano.

It starts with chicken or turkey cutlets marinated in a heady mixture of crushed garlic, fresh thyme, oregano and olive oil. The same marinade is used for the zucchini slices. I cook both the cutlets and the zucchini on a stove-top griddle, but a non-stick skillet will work as well. The roasted sweet red peppers and reconstituted dried tomatoes add color and depth of flavor.

The bread is of utmost importance. I like the kind from the deli department in my supermarket. It comes pre-sliced and is not the authentic crisp-outside-soft-inside Italian bread I like for other occasions. This bread has a soft but sturdy crumb and crust--perfect for a sandwich.

DAGWOOD ITALIANO

8 halves sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil

1 cup boiling water

2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems, or dash dried

1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, stripped from stems, or dash dried

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

4 (3/4-pound) chicken or turkey cutlets, flattened with food mallet

1 (7 1/2-ounce) jar roasted sweet red peppers

8 fresh basil leaves, optional

12 slices deli-style Italian loaf bread, with or without seeds

Place tomatoes in small bowl and add boiling water. Cover and let stand 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve.

Cut zucchini into 16 (1/4-inch-thick) diagonal slices. Place in medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 crushed garlic, 1/2 thyme, 1/2 oregano, dash salt and dash pepper. Toss to coat.

Combine remaining olive oil, garlic, thyme and oregano on large plate. Add cutlets and turn to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand until ready to prepare.

Drain roasted sweet red peppers in strainer. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Reserve.

Heat large non-stick griddle or skillet over high heat until hot enough to evaporate 1 drop of water upon contact. Add zucchini and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Transfer to dish. Season to taste with salt. Add cutlets and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Transfer to dish. Season to taste with salt.

Place 4 slices of bread on work surface. Arrange cutlets on bread, dividing evenly. Top each with 2 basil leaves and 2 reconstituted tomatoes. Top with 1 slice bread.

Arrange single layer of 4 slices zucchini on second slice of bread. Top with layer of roasted sweet red peppers, cut to fit properly. Top with remaining bread slices. Press down firmly on sandwich. Secure 2 corners of each sandwich with wood picks. Cut each sandwich in half. Makes 4 servings.

CHOCOLATE-FROSTED CHOCOLATE-ESPRESSO BARS

Butter

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup imported or European-style unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons espresso powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup light-brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Line 11x7-inch baking pan with piece of foil long enough to cover bottom and hang over 2 long sides of pan. Tuck under excess foil on short sides. Lightly butter foil and short sides of pan.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and salt onto sheet of wax paper. Set aside.

Cut 1/2 cup butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Heat butter in medium saucepan over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. With wooden spoon, stir in brown sugar and vanilla until blended. Add eggs, 1 at time, beating well with wooden spoon after each addition. Gradually stir in sifted dry ingredients until blended. Stir in pecans.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan, 20 to 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool on wire rack.

To prepare frosting, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring often, in small saucepan over very low heat. Pour over brownies and spread in thin layer with small flexible spatula. Let stand until cooled and firm. Using edges of foil, lift from pan. Place on flat surface and cut into bars with large sharp knife. Makes 12 bar cookies.

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