A few years ago a good friend of mine came across one of the devices you see below (the one on the bottom to be exact) in an antique store. It was called a Toas-tite, and it could be used to make delicious sandwich pockets over an open flame. At the time, we both lived in the city and didn’t have regular access to a campfire or grill, so we did what New Yorker’s do, and we improvised by heating the device over a gas stove. We typically made delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and it was good fun. We won’t get into the details of how this went down, but when my friend moved out of NY, I took possession of the beloved sandwich press.
In the last few years I’ve acquired quite a few of these presses, also called pie irons and pudgy pies. They couldn’t be simpler to use: Just coat two pieces of bread lightly with butter and place them inside the iron butter-side-down. Fill with the ingredients of your choice, close the press and cut or tear the excess bread from the sides. Then hold over a flame for 7 to 10 minutes or until toasted. It’s a great way to make a delicious and quick dinner, even in the dark (see below).
These days, I’m able to use my presses over a fire pit at the farm, probably a bit safer, and definitely a lot more fun that in a tiny NYC kitchen. I typically go with a traditional and simple grilled cheese (always with a slice or two of tomato) but have plans to stuff some with bbq pulled pork and cole slaw or goat cheese with arugula and grapes in the future. What would you put inside your sandwich press?
SWWU Tip 1: Make sure the bread you use is larger than the press. If it falls short, you won’t get a good seal on your sandwich.