Make a pressed sandwich perfect for a picnic

In issue 31 we took a look at the must-have inspiration guide for al fresco diners everywhere - The Picnic Cookbook by Laura Mason (£18.99, National Trust.) Here we have one of the delicious recipes featured, a tasty take on the classic sandwich.

These sandwiches are known to my family as ‘motorway sandwiches’, because they are a favourite choice for long car journeys, but don’t restrict them to this. They are great for country walks or picnics. In fact, they are good for anywhere where you might need a delicious, densely flavoured sandwich. Ingredients need to be chosen carefully to give a filling with a pleasant balance of the relatively salty and relatively mild, and a moisture content that both helps to hold the sandwich together and makes it good to eat.

    • 8 pieces
    • Serves 2–4
    • 1 part-baked ciabatta loaf
    • 3–4 tablespoons pesto
    • 1 small handful of rocket leaves
    • 100g Italian cooked ham with herbs, thinly sliced
    • 100g Gorgonzola dolce, rind removed
    1. Bake the ciabatta as instructed on the packet and leave to cool. Cut the loaf in half lengthways. Spread the cut sides with pesto. Distribute the rocket leaves over the base, followed by the ham.

    2. Layer the cheese in slices over the ham, then put the top on the loaf and press lightly with your hand so that everything sticks together.

    3. Wrap tightly in clingfilm, foil or greaseproof paper, as snugly as possible. Put the whole thing in the fridge overnight, preferably between two boards or plates with a small weight on top such as a tin of tomatoes.

    4. Next day, unwrap the sandwich, leaving the sandwich on top of the wrapping, and carefully cut it into eight diagonal slices. Rewrap tightly. Remember to take a few pieces of kitchen paper for greasy fingers and in case of spills.

    5. The sandwiches can be made in individual ciabatta rolls instead of one long one. Wrap them separately, and tightly, in cling film. As long as this is done tightly, pressing is not essential. A baguette can be used instead of the ciabatta although it makes more crumbs and is harder to chew.