Winter seems to be taking a long exhale making so many of us sit in amazement of its depth of breath. There are signs though that soon this season will be winded, with the emergence patches of crocus and daffodils that are being spotted here and there. The chives in the garden that went to ground last fall have erupted and are showing evidence that a winter’s slumber has done it well, renewed stronger and larger than before. Nor, am I surprised by the survival of my loveage, sorrel andlemon balm, though I dare not snip a leaf before they fully re-established. My tray of moist, nutrient-dense earth is dotted wispy sprouts activated in part by the direction and intensity of the sun. The volume that has peaked through amazes me, and I believe the garden is large enough to accommodate these future residents. I have the greatest hopes for the artichoke seeds that are barely breaking the soil. This will be my first time growing the thistle and I hope I do it well, and if it does, I will rue the fact that I am starting with only four plants.
One thing is for sure, the cycle of the seasons will march on; my sprouts will flourish and fruit, and I will create provisions to get me through another vernal equinox. Today, I live in the marvel of life’s return and the promise a sprout can give.
Pressed Sandwich – yields 4
Ciabatta bread (1 pound loaf – approx. 10-inches long)
2-tablespoons Dijon style mustard
6-ounces thinly sliced Black Forrest ham
4-ounces sprouts – such as alfalfa, radish or broccoli
¼-pound tomato - thinly sliced
10 basil leaves – roughly torn
Freshly ground black pepper
Cut the loaf of bread in half, and remove the doughy center.
Spread the mustard across one half of the ciabatta. Then lay down half of the ham. Spread the sprouts out over the ham and then arrange the slice tomatoes over them, season with black pepper. Lay down the remaining ham, and distribute the torn basil leaves over it. Top with the other half of ciabatta, and wrap the sandwich securely in plastic wrap.
Place the sandwich on a baking tray or cutting board, ideally, put a 10-inch cast iron skillet on top of the sandwich to weight it down. Refrigerate the sandwich this way for 12 to 24 hours.
Remove from the refrigerator, and unwrap. Cut the sandwich into 4 pieces approximately 2-inches wide.