One of the best pieces of information I took away from Thai cooking school was to always balance the flavors in a dish. Sweet, Spicy, Salty, and Bitter. When these four are in balance a Thai recipe will really shine.
I have started applying this information to other meals as well. This is how a simple grilled sandwich went from good to really fabulous. The balance of sweet fig jam, spicy arugula, creamy goat cheese, and a slice of prosciutto elevated the sandwich.
No sandwich is complete without a salad! A red cabbage was waiting to become salad, so it got mixed up with napa cabbage, green onion, oranges, raisins, peanuts and a spicy dressing. Again it all hit a great balance of flavors, and in this case textures as well.
I am brainstorming more ways to balance flavors. Any other ideas??
For 2 sandwiches
4 slices of country bread
2 tablespoons of fig jam (or more)
4 tablespoons of goat cheese (or more - some people like a bigger sandwich!)
2 slices of prosciutto
1/2 cup small arugula leaves
olive oil, butter or nonstick spray
1. Divide jam, cheese, prosciutto, and arugula between the two sandwiches. I think you can do it. If you want more detailed... let me know :) Have you ever had to do the lesson where you write up instructions to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Then someone has to follow your directions exactly and make it in front of the class? Harder then you think. It is a fun way to "torture" your students and eat messed up PB&Js.
2. There are a few options when it comes to grilling a sandwich. If you have a sandwich maker, I would use that. I don't, so I use 2 cast iron pans.
3. Heat larger cast iron pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Lightly oil pan and lay sandwiches into pan. Lightly oil the bottom of a second, smaller cast iron, or other heavy pan and put on-top of the sandwiches. Check for toastedness after a few minutes and flip. Be careful because the top pan will get hot too.
4. Slice and eat up!
On a cabbage sidenote, I have been teaching my youngest students about the different parts of a plant which are edible. This week I brought in a bag of cabbage and other assorted edible roots, leaves, stems, flowers and fruits. It was a blast seeing 7 and 8 year olds munching away on raw veggies while catagorizing them and using all sorts of new vocabulary. My favorite statement came from a little guy who had eaten so much raw red cabbage his lips were purple. He announced, "Cabbage leaves are better then chips! Do you think my mom will let me eat them at home?" Yes, little man, I am pretty sure she will!
Four Flavors Coleslaw
1/2 of a small red (or green) cabbage, sliced thinly
1 small napa cabbage, sliced thinly
One orange, peeled and sliced
2 green onions, sliced thinly
1/2 cup raisins
sesame seeds to sprinkle over salad (optional)
Juice from 1/2 an orange
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon grated ginger, or 1 teaspoon dried ginger powder
1 tablespoon of siracha or other spicy chili paste (you may want to start with less if you don't like things too spicy)
salt to taste
1. In a large bowl combine veggies.
2. In a small glass jar add dressing ingredients and shake until combined. Taste and adjust flavors.
3. Toss salad and let sit in the refridgerator for a least half an hour before serving. (So make this before the sandwiches!) Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.