Fancy Sandwich Loaf
Sandwich loaves were popular party foods in the 1940s and '50s. This updated version combines earthy mushrooms and pistachios with baked ham and fresh asparagus.
Yield: serves 8
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 14 thin asparagus spears
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 8-10 large button mushrooms
- 1 unsliced whole wheat bread loaf
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 (4"×1/2″×1/2″) lengths baked ham
- 1⁄3 cup shelled pistachios
- 2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- Bring a 4-qt. saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus and cook until just tender, 1–2 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Set aside. Heat oil in an 8″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, cap side down, and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook for 1 more minute; transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
- Using a serrated knife, remove crusts from the bread to form an 8″-long square loaf; slice loaf lengthwise into 4 equal slices. Spread ¼ cup mayonnaise over one slice and top with cooked mushrooms, cap side up; season with salt and pepper. Spread 2 tbsp. mayonnaise over a second slice and place over mushrooms, mayonnaise side down. Spread ¼ cup mayonnaise on second bread slice, and align ham lengths in three rows (two pieces per row) down the length of the bread slice; fill gaps between ham pieces evenly with pistachios, and season with salt and pepper. Spread 2 tbsp. mayonnaise over third bread slice and place over ham and pistachios, mayonnaise side down. Spread 2 tbsp. mayonnaise over third bread slice and align asparagus spears, side by side, down the length of bread slice; season with salt and pepper. Spread remaining mayonnaise over fourth bread slice and place over asparagus, mayonnaise side down. Press sandwich loaf lightly to compact.
- Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and cream until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread cream cheese mixture evenly over top and sides of sandwich loaf. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. To serve, use a serrated knife to cut loaf into 8 slices.