What could be more simple than a pan'ino? Take some bread and butter, slice it through the middle and fill it. Seen in this way, the sandwich is almost an "anti-cuisine", a nomadic shortcut that allows for speed and little thought.
But when Alessandro Frassica thinks about his pan'ino, he considers it in a different way, not as a shortcut, but as an instrument for telling stories, creating layers of tales right there between the bread and its butter. Because even if the sandwich is simple, it is not necessarily so easy to create.
Alessandro searches for ingredients, and in the raw foods he finds people: producers of pecorino cheese from Benevento, anchovies from Cetara, 'nduja spicy salami from Calabria. Then he studies the combinations, the consistencies and the temperature, because a pan'ino is not just a random object; savoury must be complemented by sweet; tapenade softens and provides moisture; bread should be warmed but not dried; thus the sandwich becomes a simple way of saying many excellent things, including finding a complexity of flavours that can thrill in just one bite.
Alessandro Frassica runs a quality sandwich shop in the heart of Florence. Maria Teresa Di Marco is one of the authors of the Italian foodblog La cucina di Calycanthus (The Calycanthus Kitchen - www.lacucinadicalycanthus.net).
Contents: Introduction; Classic pan'ini; Vegetarian pan'ini; Fish pan'ini; Ingredients; Bread.