In my never ending quest for something new and exciting to prepare for lunch, I recently came across an extraordinary sauce for making a sandwich, in this case a panini, into a really special lunch item! This Special Sauce is made of mayonnaise, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, horseradish, ketchup, chopped red onion and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It is so outstanding that I made it three days in a row!
The first time that I made it I paired the Special Sauce with deli ham, a slice of cheddar cheese and artisanal bread, spread butter on the outside slices of bread, and grilled it in my George Foreman grill. The Special Sauce was delicious on my ham and cheese panini. Since the Special Sauce was paired with deli roast beef in the original recipe, the next day I decided I had to see if the Special Sauce was good with roast beef as well. It was fabulous!
Thirdly, the special sauce was paired with deli turkey for yet another wonderful panini! Of all of them, I really did like the special sauce the best on the Roast Beef Panini. This revelation was somewhat of a surprise to me as I usually prefer turkey or ham over roast beef for sandwiches. Most noteworthy is the fact that this sauce is really delicious on any meat sandwich! Hmmm, I wonder if the Special Sauce would be good on a chicken sandwich? Or a hamburger?
I’m sharing the recipe for the Roast Beef Panini with the Special Sauce below, but if you prefer a different deli meat, just substitute what you prefer in place of the Roast Beef.
The Recipe for Roast Beef Panini with Special Sauce
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- 1 teaspoon ketchup
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 4 slices wheat bread, or whatever bread you prefer
- Butter, for spreading on bread before grilling
- 2 slices Cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces deli Roast Beef, thinly sliced
- Combine mayonnaise, tomatoes, garlic, horseradish, ketchup, cayenne pepper and diced onion in a bowl.
- Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread; spread mayonnaise mixture on the other side.
- Add cheese slice on mayonnaise mixture side of two of the slices and arrange beef on top of the cheese.
- Grill sandwiches and serve immediately.
I believe that the sun-dried tomatoes in the Special Sauce contribute much of the flavor that makes this sauce so unique! Sun-Dried Tomatoes are ripe tomatoes that lose most of their water content after spending a majority of their drying time in the sun. Before being placed in the sun, tomatoes may be pre-treated with sulfur dioxide or salt to improve the quality of the dried product.
Typically it takes 4 – 10 days in the sun to complete the sun-drying process. Large tomatoes may lose up to 93% of their weight during this process. Because it takes so many tomatoes to make a small amount of dried tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes may be expensive at the grocery store. (I found a better price at a “big box” store, for a larger size, too.)
After the sun-drying process, tomatoes retain their nutritional value – high in lycopene, antioxidants and Vitamin C. Often sun-dried tomatoes are preserved in olive oil or in the form of paste or purees. By significantly delaying the process of decomposition, drying tomatoes were done for preservation. By drying ripe tomatoes, they could be enjoyed and provide valuable nutrition during the winter when it’s difficult to grow fresh produce.
Sun-dried tomatoes surged in popularity in the US in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s where they were often found in pasta dishes and salads, becoming a trend before losing popularity from overuse by the end of the 1990’s. I hope that food trends will come back around to sun-dried tomatoes again because just a small amount of them delivers a surprising amount of flavor!
You can dry your own tomatoes at home in a very low temperature oven or in a food dehydrator – there are many websites that explain how this may be accomplished. (Just Google it!)
The Special Sauce in today’s post really enhances any sandwich – I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!
In the next Silver Foodie Post, I’ll be sharing a popular retro recipe with you so come back again soon!
Remember to Savor the Flavor!
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