Saturday, October 20, 2012

Columbus Discovers New Sport – Competitive Salami Sandwich Making

I don’t do a lot of sandwich recipes here on Food Wishes, mostly because, well, they’re sandwiches, but today I’m making an exception. On Thursday, I participated in a sandwich making contest sponsored by Columbus Salumeria, and I wanted to share what turned out to be the winning concoction.

Columbus sponsored the #TopWichSF event to promote their new line of Farm to Fork Naturals, and things got off to a appetizing start as Sean Timberlake, from Punk Domestics and Hedonia, treated us to an array of small bites he created using these great new products. 

Photo courtesy of Columbus Salame
I really loved his wonderful Waldorf-filled endive topped with strips of oven-crisped salami. With entertaining season right around the corner, I highly recommend you add this to your repertoire.

I was grateful for the energy and inspiration the tasty bites provided, as I was up against two very worthy opponents in Michael Procopio from Food for the Thoughtless, and Lynda Balslev from TasteFood

The competition was held at the Hotel Vitale, and started with a romantic pedicab ride to the Ferry Building across the street. We were given 10 minutes and $10 to buy any additional ingredients we wanted to accessorize our sandwiches with.

My idea was to do a smoked turkey and teleme sandwich, topped with some kind of meat relish made with soppressata and fruit. I ended up finding some beautiful pluots, and used the rest of my cash to get a small bag of pine nuts. They were raw, but I figured I could toast them on the panini press, which I knew was hot and waiting. I was gifted a few grapes which while delicious, played no part in my creation.

We had just 20 minutes to build our sandwiches, while a distinguished panel of five judges looked on. I was a little nervous to begin with, and knowing there were representatives from YumSugar, Chow, SFWeekly, and Tasting Table there, only added to it. The time went by incredibly fast, which made my fellow competitors' work that much more impressive.

Getting ready to bone marrow the bread.
Photo courtesy of Sean Timberlake
Michael bought some bone marrow butter and used it to toast a turkey, soppressata and apple panini. A brilliant idea, and had time allowed for a longer, deeper caramelization, it would have crushed my non-beef-fat-fried offering.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Salame
Lynda did a fennel salami, fig, and goat cheese sandwich, which she topped with apple slaw, shaved fennel, and her secret ingredient, fennel pollen. It was a classic combination of flavors, and a great way to show off the Columbus salami. By the way, check out Lynda’s great recap of the event, where you can see and read more about her beautiful sandwich. 

Despite their worthy efforts, the judges awarded my rustic-looking sandwich the grand prize. I received a dangerously large basket of salami and other gourmet goodies, as well as $500 cash! 

I figured that a two-year’s supply of salami was enough of a prize, so I’m having them donate the money to the SF Food Bank. I would have just spent the money on more salami anyway. 

A huge thank you to Columbus for inviting me to participate. They have a bunch of great photos on their Facebook page in case you want to check out some more of the action. Also, a sincere thanks to Michael and Lynda for helping make the event such a fun experience. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of YumSugar
Smoked Turkey & Teleme Sandwich with Pluot, Sopressata, & Pine Nut Relish
Ingredients for 4 Sandwiches:

For the relish:
8 oz Columbus Sopressata, diced
1 cup pluot, diced
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

The rest:
1 tbsp Harissa or other hot chili pepper paste
6 tbsp mayonnaise
8 slices bread or 4 rolls
4 oz room temp teleme cheese
8 oz Columbus Smoked Turkey

Mix relish ingredients and let sit in fridge for 1 hour to develop flavors. Mix the harissa and mayonnaise; spread on bread. Spread both sides of bread with teleme cheese and top with turkey. Top with relish, and serve immediately, or wrap and press with a plate in the fridge for 30 minutes to compress.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! And thanks for being civic-minded, helping those less fortunate.

Unknown said...


Way to out-cook their salamis! Now to hunt for pluots in NJ...

Monica said...

I knew yours would beat the competition as who the hell has access to bone marrow! Other tan big city folks. The average American can find and enjoy your sandwich. Now about the pluots....a plum apricot genetic adaptation?

Anonymous said...

Who doesn't love a winner?! Congrats - Chef John :)

averagebetty said...

Toques off to you, Chef John! Congratulations on yet another award winning sammie and kudos to your unwavering benevolence. Cheers, Sara

cookinmom said...

Besides the fun, it was topped off as a winner for Chef John! Way ta' go!!! Congrats!!

Chibby said...

Gratz John:)So awesome of you to donate the money!Especially since it's getting towards the holiday season.All those sandwiches look marvelous

Psyrixx said...

That looks like it was a lot of fun! Congratulations on the win. =)

Chef John said...

Thank you, everyone!!

Anonymous said...


j9sofine said...

I want to say, for the record, you look AWESOME. A slim and trim Chef O' My Dreams. How do you do it with all the amazing food you make?
Great job on the sandwich challenge, too!

Michael Procopio said...

Excuse me, but you can find bone marrow butter at almost any Walgreens. It's in the same aisle as the home pregnancy tests.

Chef John said...

Thanks for the tip!

Steven said...

Have you thought about competing on Chopped, Chef John?