The other night, the most wonderful sandwich came to me in a dream. Literally. I had just finalized my lunch plans before going to bed so I was thinking about food. I fell asleep thinking that I needed to find a good sandwich for the Panini press. Usually, I pick a nice-looking roll, add some portabella mushrooms or a nice-looking protein, and stuff it with every single vegetable at the counter. That, of course, does not make for a very Panini press-friendly sandwich. It’s too thick and everything falls out if you try to eat it. Clearly my sub-conscious is very in touch with my desires, because this wonderful dream brought me on a quest to find the perfect, grill-able sandwich.

First, my sub-conscious informed me that thinner bread would be better for grilling. This manifested itself the next day at Usdan in the form of basic whole wheat. Next, somewhere deep inside, a part of me realized that in order to optimize flavor, I should only use a few ingredients. As I perused the options at the counter, I decided that four was a good number: one protein, one cheese, and two veggies. Ultimately, I chose to make a tuna salad sandwich for two reasons. Firstly, I hadn’t had one in a while, so dream-Laura decided it was time to mix things up. Secondly, this decision harkened back to the days of my childhood when an open-faced tuna and cheddar melt was my favorite lunch. That led me to choose cheddar as my cheese. Then, all I needed were my two vegetables. Tomato seemed like the obvious choice for one of them, because it is often paired with grilled cheese. My second veggie was hot peppers. I chose them because at home, I make tuna salad with wasabi mayo instead of regular mayo. This became a bit of a problem eating out because every normal tuna salad now tastes bland without that extra little kick. So, I chose cherry peppers to pose as a slightly spicy substitute.

So, I had created a sandwich in my dream and succeeded in remembering it when I woke up. Now I needed to test it to see if it was any good. The next afternoon I nervously constructed my dream sandwich, desperately fearing disappointment. As I took the first bite, I was beyond excited. It was delicious! Though the tuna dried out a little bit after its time in the panini press, the tomatoes kept the sandwich juicy. The cheddar provided a nice saltiness and creaminess and the cherry peppers gave the sandwich that little something extra without overpowering the rest of the ingredients. The whole wheat bread cooked much more quickly than rolls ever did, and the sandwich was not so big that it disintegrated when pressed. This is now my new favorite sandwich.
If you find yourself always getting the same old sandwich, or stuck in some other Usdan rut, give my dream sandwich a try. It goes nicely with a side of fries or a garden salad. Seriously, you won’t regret it. Finally, after all these, years, I know that dreams come true.

-Laura Hess ‘16