I have been working nights and leaving for work soon after my husband arrives home from his day. Our fourth wedding anniversary was this month and we didn't have much time to celebrate, but I wanted to make a quick something so we could have a 30 minute dinner together before I hustled off. This sandwich is inspired by a bologna sandwich with fennel-apple slaw I had at Lucky's, a brunch restaurant in Cleveland; I used pistachio-studded mortadella to fancy-up the dish. With make-ahead components that I put together upon arriving home in the morning before hitting the bed, all my husband and I had to to when he got home was grill the sandwiches and enjoy on the porch (with sparkling water for me and hard apple cider for him!) —Emily | Cinnamon&Citrus
Swiss cheese, freshly grated
finely minced red onion
full fat good quality mayonnaise
large or 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
large or 1 small bulb fennel, cored, outer tough layers removed and thinly sliced
sweet-tart apple, peeled and grated away from the core (I used a Gala)
fresh thyme leaves
apple cider vinegar
brown sugar, packed
salt and pepper, to taste
slices mortadella (2 per sandwich, or more if you prefer)
slices rye bread, well buttered on what will be the outside of the sandwich
In a small bowl, mix the Swiss cheese, diced red onion and mayonnaise to make a Swiss cheese spread. This can be made and kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.
In a medium sauce-pan with a lid, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. To the melted butter, add the sliced red onion, fennel and thyme leaves. Cover and cook low and slow until soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
To the fennel and onion, add the grated apple, apple cider vinegar, and brown sugar and stir to combine. Cook another 3-5 minutes on medium-low heat to meld all of the flavors. Salt and pepper to taste. This jam can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for up to a week.
For sandwich assembly and cooking: place half of the cheese spread on the un-buttered side of a slice of rye bread, top with 2 slices mortadella and finally half of the fennel-onion jam and cap with another slice of rye, buttered side out. Repeat for the second sandwich. Heat a lightly-buttered non-stick griddle or grill pan over medium-low heat and cook the sandwiches so that the bread is crisp on the outside and the cheese spread is melty. This is best done low and slow so that the insides are warm and the cheese melts without the bread burning. My husband is the sandwich griller in my house and he recommends 10 minutes per side on 4/10 heat on the stovetop.