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The Ultimate Salami Sandwich with Focaccia & Pickled Red Onion

This salami sandwich with focaccia and pickled red onion combines sweet, fresh, tangy, savoury, peppery and creamy in each delicious bite. The star of the show is the salami, together with grilled aubergine, pickled red onion, fresh salad leaves, creamy aioli and spicy Calabrian chilli. It makes for a mouth-watering gourmet sandwich for meat lovers and is perfect between chargrilled slices of crispy golden focaccia. And, with a few tweaks, you can be enjoying it in less than 15 minutes!

Ultimate Salami Sandwich with Pickled Red Onion

Focaccia sandwiches are literally on just about everyone’s lips this spring in London. And this salami sandwich is an easy-to-make option in my sandwich week series. You should also consider giving my Focaccia Sandwich with Roast Chicken Filling  and this Aubergine Sandwich with Focaccia & Tahini Yoghurt a try. They’re all supremely satisfying – and make for perfect picnic food.  

Pre-orders for these focaccia sandwiches at various bakeries across London are selling out within a minute. So, if you haven’t yet managed to get yours, you can still enjoy the fresh yummy sando’s that everyone’s talking about. Simply make your own!  

The Cure

Curing is considered to be one of the oldest ways of flavouring and preserving meat, and food generally.

And I’m not talking 1970s ancient, either.

In fact, Mesopotamian people were preserving meat and fish in sesame oil and salt more than 3000 years ago!

And by 200 BCE, curing meat was popular throughout Europe, and rather than just a means of survival, it became a refined culinary process. Of course, we have the French to thank for the invention of the charcuterie board – which became a popular delicacy of kings and nobles at the time. Remember that the next time you’re tucking into a charcuterie board, you incredibly cultured and refined gourmet, you.

This gourmet salami sandwich calls for salami and other cured meats of your choice, so let’s have a quick look at some of the yummy options on offer.

Coppa

Coppa is made with pork that’s seasoned with red wine, garlic and seasonings and is then salt-cured and air dried and has a delicate texture with a fatty, spicy flavour.

Chorizo

Spanish chorizo is a strong, flavoured sausage made with pork and spicy paprika.

Pastrami

If you’re ever in New York, a visit to Katz’s Delicatessen for their Famous Pastrami on Rye is a foodie pilgrimage that’s well worth it. They’ve been doing it since 1888 and have perfected it.

Made from beef, Pastrami is cured in brine, then dried, smoked and steamed.

Prosciutto 

Prosciutto is salt cured and air dried, with a chewy texture and best enjoyed sliced paper-thin.

Parma Ham

This is a type of prosciutto from the Parma region in Italy.  Now you know.

Pancetta

Often confused with prosciutto, pancetta has more in common with bacon, although pancetta isn’t smoked.

Salami 

Salami is made using a combination of beef and pork, fat and seasonings. It’s stuffed into a casing and hung in a controlled room where it ferments. The more time spent fermenting, the drier the salami.

I’ve used a mix of salami, Coppa and Parma ham – but it’s your sando, so use your favourites, or whatever you have on hand.

Tempus Fugit

Time really does fly – and if you’re a little short on time, but still want all the flavour offered by this sublime salami sandwich, it’s perfectly fine to use store-bought aioli, which will save you from having to roast the garlic.

And, if you sub out the grilled aubergine, for char-grilled artichokes or a bottle of roasted peppers, you can be enjoying your salami sandwich in less than 15 minutes!

Easy Gourmet Salami Sandwich with Focaccia

In a Pickle

Pickled red onions – which are surprisingly easy to make – bring a gorgeous fresh tanginess to this sandwich, and don’t take a lot of time either. You just need to let the onions sit a while to absorb the marinade. I’d recommend around 10 minutes as a minimum.

But Jess, I just don’t like…

I hear you.

Use my sandwich recipes as a starting point, experiment and substitute ingredients that you don’t like with ones that you do. Whether it’s due to taste preference, dietary reasons, lifestyle choices or faith – food should be a joy.

Always remember the golden rule of a great sandwich– contrasts! Balance richness from meats, or fried fillings with freshness using a peppery, well-dressed salad, or bright fresh pickles. Contrast crunchy fillings and meats with creamy sauces, like aioli, or a creamy yoghurt. The options are as endless as your imagination. 

So, with this in mind, you can always substitute pork-based cold cuts with smoked turkey, or vegan-based lunch slices.

You can also change out the grilled aubergine with gorgeous marinated peppers or even grilled, marinated artichokes.

Rate This Salami Sandwich with Pickled Red Onions 

As always, if you try this delicious salami sandwich with pickled red onions, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo#theculinarycartel onInstagramso we can see what you come up with.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make substitutions?

Absolutely. Substitute smoked turkey for any pork based cured meats, or vegan slices for meat. And substitute mayonnaise for a vegan friendly alternative. You can swap out the grilled aubergine for marinated peppers or char-grilled marinated artichokes.

And of course, you can swap out the Focaccia for Sourdough bread, country-style bread or Ciabatta. .

Can I make this vegan?

Absolutely! It can be with a few substitutions. Use vegan lunch slices instead of meat. Also use a vegan mayonnaise alternative., and Maple syrup instead of honey.

 

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Ultimate Salami Sandwich with Pickled Red Onion

The Ultimate Salami Sandwich with Focaccia & Pickled Red Onion


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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 Sandwiches

Description

This salami sandwich with focaccia and pickled red onion combines sweet, fresh, tangy, savoury, peppery and creamy in each delicious bite. The star of the show is the salami, together with grilled aubergine, pickled red onion, fresh salad leaves, creamy aioli and spicy Calabrian chilli. It makes for a mouth-watering gourmet sandwich for meat lovers and is perfect between chargrilled slices of crispy golden focaccia. And, with a few tweaks, you can be enjoying it in less than 15 minutes!


Ingredients

Units

For the sandwich 

  • Slab of focaccia big enough for 2 sandwiches
  • 110g mixed cured meats, like spicy salami, Coppa and Parma ham
  • 1 aubergine*
  • 30g salad leaf mix *want to save time? Replace the roasted aubergine for shop bough, or use grilled artichokes or bottled peppers. Using shop-bought aioli will also cut your cook time right down, but if you have the time, home made always wins!

For the pickle

  • 3 Tbsp / 45g white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 red onion
  • Oil, salt and pepper as needed

For the spicy aioli

  • 1 small bulb garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Calabrian chilli or chilli paste of your choice
  • 50g / scant 1/4 cup mayonnaise OR
  • Shop-bought roasted garlic aioli
  • 1 Tbsp Calabrian chilli

Instructions

  1. Cut off the top quarter of the garlic to expose the cloves, then coat garlic in olive oil and wrap it in tin foil.
  2. Roast the garlic in your air fryer at 200 C or oven at 190 C for 30 minutes or until soft and gooey.
  3. Slice your aubergine into rounds. Generously salt them and place in a colander to drain off the excess liquid. Set aside for 10 minutes then pat dry.
  4. While the aubergine is resting, dice your red onion and mix in a bowl together with white wine vinegar and honey or maple syrup. Season with salt, pepper and a little oil as needed.  Set aside for ten minutes to marinate and lightly pickle.
  5. Place your sliced aubergine into a roasting dish or air fryer and brush with chilli oil or olive oil, then roast alongside the garlic, until golden brown and gooey, flipping half way.
  6. For air fryer: Roast at 200 C for 12 minutes, flipping halfway.
  7. For oven: Roast at 190 C 15 – 20 minutes, flipping halfway.
  8. Once garlic and aubergine are done roasting, remove the roasted garlic from the foil and mash it. In a bowl, combine the mashed garlic, Calabrian chilli, and mayonnaise.
  9. Lightly toast your focaccia bread in a pan or by running it cut-side down over the open flame of your gas cooker. Spread the garlic and chilli mayo sauce on one side of the bread.
  10. Layer the bread with mixed cured meats and roasted aubergine slices.
  11. Place pickled onions on the other side of the bread.
  12. Toss the salad leaf mix with the pickled onion marinade and spread on the bread.
  13. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to form your second sandwich – then wrap in brown paper, cut in half, and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

Notes

You can save time by using store-bought aioli and substituting the grilled aubergine with marinated peppers or artichoke.

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Method: Bake
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