Across the street from my first apartment in Stockholm was a French family owned deli. They had the most amazing cheeses, olives, lentils and just about everything that we look for in a deli today. This was however roughly 15 years ago and my interest in food wasn’t nearly as big as it is now. Back then, I certainly couldn’t afford – or see the point in – buying olives or sun-dried tomatoes that costed four times more than in the supermarket. But somehow I still enjoyed sneaking around in there, talking to the owners about the origin of their products. The only thing I actually bought at the deli was their special vegetarian* sandwich. A freshly baked ciabatta (and to all you youngsters reading this; 15 years ago, ciabatta was as cool as sourdough is today), generously slabbed with the family’s “secret sauce”, chopped tomatoes, capers and thick chunks of taleggio cheese. That sandwich was a revelation for someone who was used to toasted bread with butter and jam. This was the king of vegetarian sandwiches for as long as I lived there. Bold flavors paired with creamy cheese.
I’m not sure when the family revealed to me that their “secret sauce” was their own version of a Chilean pebre – the distant cousin to the Mexican pico de gallo. But from the moment I heard about pebre, I have loved and been in constant pursuit of it. It is not only great on sandwiches, but also as a condiment to just about everything. Our version is packed with coriander/cilantro, chili, garlic and tomatoes. Not all pebre recipes include tomatoes, but since this is our version of the deli’s version, we have taken some liberties.
So, this is a post about a French deli in Sweden that served a sauce from Chile paired with an Italian cheese. And to add an extra layer to it, I am writing this from Morocco (more about that in a later post)! We prepared this sandwich the day before we left, in a sudden rush of nostalgia. We have used rye bread, but any sourdough bread (or ciabatta if you so please) would be delicious as well. Luise suggests that vegans can replace the taleggio with pan fried tempeh or tofu.
In our last post we announced that were are giving away 10 tickets to the book fair in Copenhagen next Sunday.
The winners of the tickets are: Katrine, Morten, Anders, Helle, Kamilla, Nada, Nino, Victoria, Marie S, Cecile. Congrats! Our danish publisher will email you to make sure that you receive your ticket in time. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Chilean Pebre Sauce
You have to adjust the chili and garlic to your own preference. 1/2 habanero will make it quite strong, so you might want to start out with a little less if you are faint-hearted.
3/4 cup pomodoro passata or good quality canned tomatoes
1 cup loosely packed fresh mixed parsley and cilantro, very finely chopped
3 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/2 habanero chili, seeded and very very finely chopped
1/2 spring onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 pinch coarse sea salt
1/2 lemon, juice
Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Taste and adjust the flavors. Store in an air-tight glass jar in the fridge for up to a week.
Making the sandwich
You can buy delicious dark sourdough rye bread in every supermarket and bakery in Scandinavia, and gluten free ‘rye’ bread alternatives are popping up too. We’ve also added a recipe in our cookbook, it is a bit time consuming to bake but so worth it, if you have the time. But you can of course use your favorite bread instead.
slices dark sourdough rye bread
slices taleggio* cheese or pan fried tempeh for a healthy and vegan option
pickled capers, drained
slices of fresh tomatoes
Add a couple of spoonfuls of Pebre sauce to the bread slices, arrange tallegio, capers, tomatoes and greens on top. Add a slice of bread and serve or wrap with paper and grab to go.
* Taleggio and many other cheeses (parmesan, pecorino, gorgonzola etc) use rennet to allow the cheese to curdle. Technically this makes them inappropriate for vegetarians to eat, as dead calf enzymes are used in the process. This is a difficult and well-discussed subject for all vegetarians. Everyone must decide for themselves what they eat and how that affects other living creatures. In our family we eat cheese (rennet-free when we can find it) every now and then, although more rarely than often. If more cheese makers would make rennet free cheeses, we’d be the first one to buy them. A good advice is to buy kosher cheeses, as they always are rennet free.