We can’t talk about last week’s Sunday Dinner without mentioning Comic-Con. Every year, tons of people flock to San Diego for a week-long celebration of pop culture. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you have a badge to get in the doors of the Convention Center for the panels and other festivities. Sunday was the end of Comic-Con Week and we had a request for a special menu item. I received a text from my husband with a link and the caption, “Yo, make this!”
The link was to a site called Binging with Babish. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a popular series where dishes from television shows and movies are recreated in the kitchen by Andrew Rea. The Fitz, so dubbed as it is the favorite of Agent Fitz, of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is a sandwich. This sandwich came highly recommended by my husband’s longtime friend, he and his wife make it every year for Comic-Con.
The Fitz has prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, pesto aioli, tomato, and arugula on ciabatta bread. Looking at the picture, we thought seems simple, right? Not so much, the recipe called for ciabatta baked from scratch. Besides the occasional Banana Nut, we have never baked bread from scratch. To our surprise, baking bread is time-consuming.
This was a two-day process. We had to make a starter called a biga, we like to call it our biga ‘dventure as it was quite a journey. We didn’t end up eating dinner until about 9:30 pm on Sunday. We haven’t learned our lesson because most of our frustration stems from the fact that our test kitchen does not have a stand mixer. (that’s next on our shopping list) So, we did what anyone would do. We looked up online how to knead the dough by hand; this isn’t that kind of dough.
This recipe also measures flour in ounces, if you don’t have a scale in the kitchen it might be a little annoying if you aren’t a math whiz. (I am raising my hand really high right now) All joking aside, we have a scale, and for those of you that are not math people I poured the pre weighed floured into a liquid measuring cup. Hopefully it helps a little.
I will say baking bread from scratch gives you a feeling of accomplishment and pride like no other! Especially when you make a sandwich with it; on the same day, you bake it. The ciabatta recipe yields three loaves of bread, and it tastes even better the day after! According to the original recipe, you can make two sandwiches; we were able to make three and still had enough pesto aioli leftover to make chicken wraps the day after.
Except for the sticky mess we made when trying to knead the ciabatta dough by hand, yeah we tried to do this on the counter…not that kind of dough, we consider this a huge test kitchen win! Not only was The Fitz delicious, we learned a new skill and earned new bragging rights. Personally, and I love prosciutto, I prefer the pesto aioli with grilled chicken. Sorry, Agent Fitz!
I would like to take a moment to thank each and every single one of you that reads these. Really, it brings so much joy each time we see a new like or follow. We try to make things that anyone can make, but let’s get serious here for a minute, if I can do this so can you!
Until next time, happy eating!
The Fitz Sandwich Recipe
DAY ONE BIGA
- 1/4 tsp yeast ( we used instant because it didn’t specify & the stores are out of regular yeast…thanks global pandemic!)
- 1/2 cup room temperature water
- 5 ounces All purpose flour ( in a liquid measuring cup it shows 1 c)
DAY TWO BIGA
- 10 ounces All purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup room temperature water
- 1/4 cup room temperature milk
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (shelled, you will toast them)
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove
- 3-4 TBS olive oil
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 garlic cloves (grated)
- 1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Here’s what else you need to make the sandwich
- 1 lb prosciutto
- 2 (6 ounce) balls of buffalo mozzarella (sliced)
- 1 beefsteak tomato (sliced)
- 4 ounces baby arugula
BAKING THE CIABATTA
Day One: Making the Biga
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast, flour, and water. Mix until it forms a sticky paste. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl so that all the biga is in one piece. Cover with plastic wrap and leave the bowl on the counter overnight. (The original recipe says at least 8 hours, we did the full 24)
Day Two: The Rest of Your Biga ‘dventure (see what we did there?)
- Add the flour, yeast, salt, water, and milk to the biga (If you forget to let the milk get to room temperature like we did…just mix the milk and water before adding it to the mixture)
- Here’s where you can do one of two things A) use a stand mixer and mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes or B) do what we did and mix by hand with a rubber spatula for about 5 minutes. All the ingredients should be mixed well and the dough should look and feel like a sticky pancake batter.
- If you have a stand mixer, use your dough hook, and knead on medium-high speed for 10 minutes, until dough is shiny and smooth or if you want to try and knead this by hand leave it in the bowl! We floured the counter and tried kneading it like normal and it was a mess. Next time around we will just leave it in the bowl and knead it that way.
- After you knead the dough, transfer it into a well oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Take a rubber spatula and oil it, remove the plastic wrap, and fold the dough onto itself 8 times, rotate the bowl so you don’t miss any part. Replace the plastic wrap, rest for an additional 30 minutes, and repeat the process 2 more times. Yes, 2 more. (This process takes an hour and a half if you count the first rest after kneading)
- Preheat oven to 450°F with a pizza stone set in the center of the oven. If you don’t have a pizza stone you can use a sheet pan just keep an eye on your loaves.
- This is the fun part! Flour the heck out of your counter or table, and split the dough into 3 equal pieces
- shape each piece into a 12×9” rectangle, flouring underneath
- Fold the dough onto itself like a letter (tuck two end pieces inwards and underneath)
- Repeat with remaining pieces, and place each loaf on a sheet of parchment paper cut just larger than the size of the loaves.
- Dust with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for another 20 minutes. (this dough does a lot of resting)
- We are FINALLY ready to bake! Remove the plastic wrap
- Use a spray bottle to spray the loaves with water
- Use a pizza peel and slide onto the pizza stone (if you don’t have a pizza peel, sliding it off a plate or ceramic tray with flat edges works too)
- Bake for 22-30 minutes, until deeply golden brown on the outside, registering 210°F inside (I don’t know how to check the temperature of bread)
- Place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before using for sandwich
MAKING THE PESTO AIOLI
- Heat a small skillet on medium heat and add pine nuts, toast for 4 minutes tossing often
- Using a small food processor combine pine nuts, 1 garlic clove, basil, and olive oil. Process until smooth, adding olive oil as necessary until a smooth pesto forms.
- Wrap a damp dish towel around a medium bowl (this will keep it in place while you are whisking and pouring in olive oil for the aioli)
- In the medium bowl, combine egg yolk and grated garlic.
- Whisk vigorously and constantly, slowly stream olive oil down the side of the bowl.
- Whisk the oil in until a thick aioli forms
- Whisk in the pesto
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
CREATING THE FITZ SANDWICH
- Cut the ciabatta loaf in half lengthwise
- Drizzle both sides with olive oil
- Spread the pesto aioli on the top half of the ciabatta
- Place folded pieces of prosciutto on the bottom half of the ciabatta until you have two layers of prosciutto
- Top the prosciutto with the buffalo mozzarella
- Place slices of tomato on the mozzarella
- Add baby arugula to the top of the tomato
- Assemble sandwich by adding the top of the ciabatta
- Cut in half and serve
- Do this with remaining sandwiches and ENJOY!