Lazy Person's John Montagu
Plain Omelette-Smoked Salmon Panino
Story/recipe and photos by Tom Weber
On the heels of my Lazy
Person's Pesto Based Flatbread Pizza
recipe, I thought I'd continue with what appears to be a recurring
theme in the making, and pass along my Lazy Person recipes
as I create them for myself in the galley. You know, breakfast, lunch
and dinner tips for folks like me, who really don't have much of a clue
around the kitchen and are, well, just plain lazy.
So, this time around we'll bite into my culinary hodgepodge
between two slices of bread, the Lazy Person's John Montagu Plain
Omelette-Smoked Salmon Panino - that's a mouthful - LPJMPOSSP
for short - still a mouthful. It's a delectable panino
(sandwich) that I thoroughly enjoy, with slight variations, as one of
my three squares a day. This version will be eaten soon, accompanied
by a nice glass of chilled white wine, so we could call this version
of the LPJMPOSSP a "handy" lunch or dinner idea.
4th Earl of Sandwich, 1783, by Thomas Gainsborough; National Maritime
Museum, London, England; Greenwich Hospital Collection. This photographic
reproduction is in the public domain courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
If I can just pause for a second or two, I'd like to
shed a bit of historical light on the venerable sandwich, the remarkable,
portable food that has withstood the test of time and has casually graced
earthy campgrounds, dining room tables, deli counters, diner booths,
lunch boxes and picnic blankets all around the globe.
Reportedly, the first form of the sandwich is attributed
to Hillel the Elder, whose life straddled before and during
the Common Era (c. 1 BC). He was an ancient Jewish sage
and scholar who, during Passover, was said to have filled a matzo
(flat, unleavened bread) with meat from the Paschal lamb and
According to some food historians, between the 3rd and
9th centuries AD some indigenous tribes of Central America dined on
hand-held food encased in corn tortilla wrappers.
In 17th century Holland, English naturalist-botanist
John Ray noted that the beef hanging from the rafters
inside taverns was cut into thin pieces and placed on slices of buttered
bread that the Dutch called belegde broodje, or open faced
The first English usage of the word appeared in British
historian Edward Gibbon's 18th century journal as he referenced "bits
of cold meat" between bread as a "Sandwich," named after
John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century
English aristocrat. As the story goes, Montagu, a hardened gambler who
usually played cards for hours at a time, sometimes refusing to get
up even for meals or a you-know-what break, would order his valet to
bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread. Because Montagu was
a British VIP, others would follow suit and order, "the same as
It would be nice to say that back in 1762 the sandwich
was created by the good 4th Earl of the same, but, in fact, people had
been tucking meat or cheese or whatever into bread and all of its iterations
since at least the 1st century BC, long before John Montagu began wrapping
one hand around two pieces of bread filled with meat to avoid getting
his playing cards sticky. Like the hands he was sometimes dealt, Lord
Sandwich just got lucky.
Okay. Back to the LPJMPOSSP.
Living here in Italy, some ingredients just don't exist
or are very hard to find. For the LPJMPOSSP, the perfect
bookend is a sliced bagel - a whole-wheat dough ring first
made in the early 17th century by Polish artisans in Krakow. But I live
in Italy and not Poland or anywhere else where the bagel is widely consumed.
So, I'm forced to improvise and rely, instead, on Italian toast bread
- what we call back home sandwich bread. A bagel is preferred, but when
you don't have it, simply go with two slices of multi-grain, vice white,
sandwich bread. For this demonstration, I'm using a tried and true winner
- Barilla's Mulino Bianco Pan di Casa, a rustic, thick
sliced, multi-grain bread that toasts well and is perfect for building
So, let's get started.
Lazy Person's John Montagu Plain Omelette-Smoked
Ingredients (per serving)
- 1 large fresh Egg
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) of Cream
- 3 teaspoons (15 grams) of Butter
- Salt & ground Black Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of Ricotta
cheese (Stracchino, Crescenza or other
creamy Italian cheese as a substitute)
- 2 slices of thick Multi-Grain Sandwich Bread
- 50 grams of thinly sliced Smoked
- 1/4 medium size Cipolla
Rossa di Tropea (Red Onion of Tropea, IT)
- 1 handful of fresh Assorted Baby Greens and/or Arugula
Prep and Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
Step-1: In a bowl, combine egg, cream salt &
pepper, and hand beat until the ingredients combine
Step-2: In a skillet, melt the butter then pour
in the egg mixture and cook slowly for 5 min.
Step-3: While the omelette cooks, slice the onion,
spread out the salmon and rinse the greens.
Step-4: After 5 min. flip the omelette completely
over and continue cooking for 3 min.
Step-5: Fold the omelette in half and cook for
an additional 2 minutes.
Step-6: Place the bread in the toaster and toast
on the medium setting.
Step-7: Fold the omelette one more time into
Step-8: POP! Toast is done and ready to be buttered
with the Ricotta cheese.
Step-9: Remove from heat, lay the omelette over
one slice of toast, top with sliced onion.
Step-10: Lay the smoked salmon over the other
slice of toast, top with Baby Greens or Arugula (Rocket leaves).
Step-11: Fold both pieces of layered toast together,
cut in half or leave whole, plate and serve.
Wine Pairing: Cavit's Trentino DOC Sauvignon
Blanc Mastri Vernacoli - A pale, golden-yellow Sauvignon from the
Trentino area of northern Italy with hints of sage and elderflower.
Dry and delicate on the palate with a slight acidic vein running through
Before I dig in, let's imagine just for a moment the
English language sans the word SANDWICH. If John Montagu,
the 4th Earl of Sandwich, hadn't been associated with it back in the
18th century, what would we call the bread-enclosed convenience food
today? Feel free to pass along your suggestions. In the meantime, deal
me three more cards and pass the salt, please.