My tastebuds were dancing. They were truly ecstatic after eating this sandwich.
Now, we all know tastebuds enjoy cheap thrills from time to time. They get worked up over the easy highs of fat and sugar. This sandwich isn't a brownie or a french fry. But it's got layers of flavor that remind your tastebuds that despite many seemingly satisfying meals, they are rarely stimulated like this.
With the one-year anniversary of the publication of The Flavor Bible upon us, I thought carefully about arranging this sandwich as such. Cheese and apples are a classic combination. (Cherry Street Artisan in Columbia had a nice brie and apple panini.) The port salut cheese I had in the fridge is slightly milder than brie, but it would do. Prosciutto was a logical addition, providing some salt and that cured flavor I can't describe. Back to the apples, I'd been wanting to make apple fennel slaw with lemon juice as a side dish for a while, but I decided the sweet and sour flavors would be perfect for the sandwich.
Think about this with me for a minute: Fresh French bread with a firm crust and pillowy inside. Warm soft cheese and extra thin slices of salty cured ham. The crisp bite of green apple with a lemon tang that gives way to the faint anise sweetness. And I don't know much of anything about pairing wine with a dish, but I will say that a few sips of chardonnay put this whole thing over the edge for me.
Dancing tastebuds. That's all I can say.