How to Make a Brick-Pressed Sandwich

Track down the largest, crustiest loaf you can get your hands on for a feat of true picnic perfection. Jam-packed with pork and broccoli rabe — a classic Philadelphia-style sandwich combo — this sandwich melds together just right when pressed with a brick, and it couldn't be easier to make.

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Photo By: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Brick-Pressed Sandwiches, Step by Step

These massive loaf-sized sandwiches are perfect to bring along to a picnic or cookout, and they are enough to feed any hungry crowd. Pressing them under a brick for several hours brings the flavors together and helps you cram more of your favorite ingredients into each bite.

Get the Recipe: Italian Combo and Broccoli Rabe Pressed Hero

Prep the Bread

First, slice your loaf of bread in half horizontally so that you have two large pieces: a top and a bottom. Sturdy loaves like ciabatta, sourdough, rye and Italian bread work well. Use your hands to scoop out some of the bread from both halves of the loaf. Leave at least a 1/4- to 1/2-inch border around the edges and crust. Reserve the bread scraps for another use.

Build the Sandwich

Next, load up the bread with all of your favorite sandwich fillings, then place the top half on top of the fillings. Tip: Place dryer ingredients like greens or thick spreads closer to the bread and keep wetter ingredients like tomatoes and sauces closer to the inside of the sandwich. The dryer ingredients will act as a buffer to keep the bread from getting soggy. Also, try to keep slippery ingredients separate by putting another ingredient between them to prevent the sandwich from slipping apart.

Wrap It Up

Cut a piece of parchment paper about three times the length of the sandwich. Carefully lift the sandwich and place it on one end of the parchment paper so there are a few inches of paper beyond one end of the sandwich and lots beyond the other. Wrap the longer end of the paper over the top of the sandwich, then lift the sandwich again and tuck the long end under the bottom so the parchment wraps all the way around.

Now Do It the Other Way

Next, cut another piece of parchment paper about three times the width of the sandwich. Wrap the sandwich the same way as before but in the other direction so that no bread is exposed. You can fold any overhanging paper and tuck it under the sandwich. Tip: When lifting the sandwich, support it with your whole hand and forearm so it does not fall or tilt and lose fillings.

Tie It Up Like a Present

Cut a long piece of twine, about three times the length of your sandwich. Wrap the twine under and around the sandwich lengthwise, tie a simple knot on top, then wrap the twine around the sandwich in the other direction, like you’re wrapping a ribbon around a present. Bring the twine around to the top and tie a knot or bow.

Press It with a Brick

Place a brick on top of the center of the wrapped sandwich and place the sandwich in the fridge to press for about three hours.

If You Don't Have a Brick

Another option is to use a cast-iron skillet.

If You Don't Have a Cast-Iron Skillet

Weight it down with some heavy cans or jars, or you can even use a six-pack of drinks — anything that weighs about 4 pounds will work.

Serve the Sandwich

Take the sandwich out of the fridge about 45 minutes before you want to serve it so that it can come to room temperature. Use a large serrated knife to cut the sandwich. You can unwrap the sandwich before slicing, or cut right through the paper to give yourself a built-in wrapper that will keep all those fillings contained.

Get the Recipe: Italian Combo and Broccoli Rabe Pressed Hero

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