EC Eats

The best salad sandwich of my life

Grace Schutte

More stories from Grace Schutte

May 10, 2023

The other day I was, once again, on TikTok perusing my FYP like it was the Sunday paper when I stumbled upon a behemoth of a sandwich. 

With butcher block centered before her, I watched a lady slice off a slab of ciabatta bread and pop it in a toaster for a few minutes. As she waited, she dowsed a bowl of arugula in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

With the bread done and golden brown, she slathered one side in — brace yourself — pesto. 

As a pesto aficionado (not really) my jaw dropped. Pesto. On a sandwich. Why didn’t I think of that? With one side thoroughly coated, she layered on a few tomato slices and gave them a generous sea-salting. 

The star of the show was a glob of burrata cheese. “Glob” might not be the technical term, but I’m telling you, it was a heap of cheese — a real how-in-the-world-are-you-going-to-eat-that kind of moment. 

As though this sandwich wasn’t larger than life already, she added the arugula and wrestled it all between the two ciabatta slices. It was finally complete. I didn’t wait to see her reaction — I could tell this was a piece of heaven on Earth and couldn’t wait to try it myself. 

Something important to know about me and my relationship with my kitchen is that I am, at best, an aspiring cook — an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, eyeball-it kind of gal. The thing is, I in no way have the culinary instincts nor the prowess to successfully eyeball anything. 

While I wouldn’t describe my taste buds as dull, I am not a picky eater. My meals are almost always improvised and certifiably edible, though not up to potluck standards. 

But I was confident about this sandwich. It seemed to me like an inverted salad, one meal I make very well (it’s hard not to). 

Another thing about me is I am a #brokecollegestudent. I don’t have ciabatta bread, let alone burrata — I hadn’t heard of either of those until that fateful TikTok. So while I tried my darndest to replicate the recipe, there were, naturally, some substitutes and changes made along the way. 

For one, I didn’t have ciabatta bread. Who does? Instead, I used my Aldi brand French bread and threw that in the toaster oven for a few minutes. 

I also didn’t have arugula, but I did have spinach which is basically the same thing. If it’s leafy and green I say it counts. 

The olive oil, vinegar and tomatoes I did have, and best of all, the pesto, too. I told you, I’m an aficionado. 

The salt was the regular kosher kind — how boring — and I most definitely didn’t have burrata cheese. Again, what even is that? But, I did have brie which is not the same but is fancier than shredded cheddar cheese, so I threw on a slab or two of that and called it good. 

This sandwich slayed so hard (and that is the technical term). The crunch of the bread met immediately by the gooey brie followed by the sharp tang of the vinegar — oh my goodness. I’m at a loss for words. 

The wonderfulness of this sandwich is in no way due to my culinary genius. I’m quite convinced the elements of it — crispy bread, cheese, leafy greens, tomato and pesto — are so simple that the sandwich is foolproof, even when substituting all the quote-unquote staples of the meal. 

I encourage you all to try a variation of this sandwich. You won’t regret it. 

Schutte can be reached at [email protected].