Sandwich #174—“Michael White’s Forbidden” Mortadella and Ricotta Cheese on Focaccia

By 300 Sandwiches

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mrwhitemortEarlier this week I made a Forbidden Sandwich of zucchini and sliced tomatoes, two vegetables E finds repulsive. I asked E what he would cook for himself when I’m not around.

“I would make Eggs Normandy,” E admitted. “Poached egg with runny egg yolk, hollandaise sauce, and smoked salmon. Maybe some foie gras on the side.” His eyes twinkled as he spoke.
“All the things you hate.”

I would totally find this gross. Runny egg and mushy meat? Eww.

I want to know what professional chefs make for themselves when they’re feeling indulgent. (Now that I’m beyond the half way mark, I’m going to reach out to some of my real foodie friends to see what sandwiches they love to make. Can’t hurt to get some fresh ideas!).

First up—Michael White, the Michelin-starred chef behind popular New York eateries Marea, Costata and Ai Fiori. I have certainly indulged in his pastas and steaks at several of his places, and always leave drooling for more. This week, Michael let me in on what he makes for himself when his wife, who recently went on a major health kick, isn’t around:

——When Mrs. White is out of town, or sound asleep, I take about five thin slices of Mortadella and make my version of the ultimate ham and cheese. I’ll take some of the house-made green olive Marea foccacia and smuggle it home. I slice it lengthwise and toast it until golden brown. Now for the fun part: I melt a small knob of butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Then I add five thin slices of mortadella and allow it to warm and get creamy. Condiments are unnecessary; the meat is fatty enough – and takes on a completely different flavor when warmed. I take some spreadable stracchino or ricotta cheese and slather it on the warmed foccacia – top and bottom halves. When I’m really getting down though, I smuggle some of my daughter’s Babybel rounds, slice thinly and place on the bread. Regardless, the cheese needs to ooze out of every corner. Assemble the sandwich: bread, cheese, warmed mortadella and some wild arugula if you’re feeling less than naughty. Some stone ground mustard on the side for a dip.

This sounds richer than a $400 million Powerball drawing.

After a night out with my girls, I came home and replicated this bad boy for E. But knowing how rich this sandwich would be between the butter, cheese and the fatty meat, I only made a Scooby snack-sized portion for E.

E took one bite. “I feel fat already,” he said, tearing at the sandwich after eating a healthy dinner of salmon and sweet potatoes.

“But,” E smiled, “that sandwich is good. I can see why this is considered his forbidden sandwich. This. Is. Tasty.”

2 pieces focaccia
4-5 slices mortadella
2 tablespoons ricotta
1 handful arugula
one Babybell round, sliced
2 pats butter

Melt butter in a non stick skillet. Toast bread. Warm mortadella in skillet for a few minutes. Remove. Spread ricotta cheese on both sides, layer on mortadella, more cheese and arugula, and top with top with focaccia. Serve with a side of seedy mustard for dipping.

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