Judd and I just returned from a vacation/adventure through Panama! Warm weather, crystal clear beaches and cheap food…
Where we were expecting a bounty of fresh seafood and exotic flavors, instead, we found Panamanians live off of stewed chicken and rice. Delicious and cheap indeed, but palette awakening… not so much. Of course I was able to sneak in several AMAZING meals of pescado frito (whole fried fish!!!), but it was not until we struck up a conversation with a Dutch couple that I felt compelled to rush home, make this dish and gobble it up.
Turns out these native Netherlanders were from Utrecht, a wonderful town just outside of Amsterdam that I happened to study abroad in during college. Naturally our conversation turned to local eateries (Falafel City!) and the discovery that this very tan Dutch man was actually Dutch Indonesian. Now, having grown up in a household that loves Indonesian food, I was thrilled to talk about tasty and spicy Indo recipes. We went straight to peanut sauce and its many applications. Dutch man (name somehow never learned) asked if we liked Sambal. Judd and I both hollered… SAMBAL!!!! At this point, Dutch man knew he had captured our attention.
The recipe is very simple… you take bread, peanut butter, sambal and cucumbers. Load up the sandwich with said ingredients and toast in a frying pan with a little bit of butter. The peanut butter liquifies ever so slightly, while the cucumber offers crunch and a much needed cool down that offsets the spicy sambal. If you have never had sambal… go now to the store and purchase a jar. This spicy chili paste can be used in loads of recipes, such as stir-fry’s, sauces and soups. I must admit, it had NEVER occurred to me to smear it on a sandwich.
Sandwiches as we know them have been forever altered…
Makes 1 sandwich
2 slices artisanal bread
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter (more of less depending on preference)
1 heaping teaspoon sambal
1/8 – 1/4 of a cucumber, thinly sliced, skin on
1/2 tablespoon butter
Smear 2 pieces of bread with peanut butter. Add sambal to one piece of bread, layer with cucumber slices, close sandwich. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat (you can also use olive oil or cooking spray). Toast sandwich until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Peanut butter should be slightly melted. Cut in half and marvel at the tastiness of this toastie!