This long weekend, many of us are headed to the cottage or campground, while others are just as happy to pack the picnic basket and make a bee-line for the nearest beach or waterfront park. Packing the cooler is always a labour of love, and deciding what to put in the cooler –or picnic basket- is part of the fun. Picnic favourites include cold fried chicken pieces, picnic eggs or their high-falutin’ cousins, devilled eggs, pasta salads and lots of refreshing in-season fruit like local strawberries, cherries, peaches and fresh cut watermelon. And sandwiches; don’t forget the sandwiches! And this summer, why not up the wow factor a couple notches by making tramezzini?
A tramezzino is a somewhat dainty tea sandwich that hails from Venice, Italy. The name itself, coined in the twenties, is based on the Italian word, tramezzo; “in the middle.” Typically, Venetian tramezzini are made with very soft, white bread with the crusts removed, and cut on the diagonal to form little triangles. You can buy tramezzini bread already sliced and de-crusted- known as pancarré- or you can just use your favourite white bread and remove the crusts yourselves. Thrifty cats will save the crusts and freeze them, maybe for bread pudding, or bread crumbs, or for a stuffing.
What to fill your tramezzino with is a matter of choice, of course; traditional tramezzini include combinations like tuna and olives, egg and anchovy, sliced tomato and basil, smoked salmon and lettuce, salami and hard cheese, lobster salad, even prosciutto with sliced melon. For the kids, peanut butter with the banana thinly sliced lengthwise is a fancy take on a school-box favourite, or how about nutella with sliced strawberries?
For more tramezzino ideas, check out the menu at the eponymous café in New York, that specializes in this delightful little snack.
One tip that most of the savoury recipes for tramezzini employ is to spread a little high quality mayonnaise on each slice of bread, it will help to keep the ingredients inside the bread. Be sure to wrap each little tramezzino individually and snugly with plastic wrap before placing gently in a Tupperware-like container; this is especially important if the sandwich is to be transported over hill and dale to that perfectly swanky picnic nook!