I have a longer essay I wrote extolling the life of a student in Cambridge, MA. Mostly I reminisce about what it was like to be a student and work in the busy inner sanctum of Harvard Square and the separation between student and minimum-wage worker. One of my favorite things from my time there was working at a little boutique off Dunster St. It gave me identity outside of culinary school and its baggy chef pants as well as a group of women with whom I could talk to, girl crush on and ask a million questions to.
Harvard Square is full of "institutions" and it's a well-worn moniker seen on beer halls, burger joints and fading startups, but when you pop up out of the T and look past Out of Town News you'll see a genuine institution called Cardullo's. It's got the vintage sign, the imported olive oils, English chocolates, expensive salts and all those things just out of reach for the average college student. it's pretty aspirational, actually. Cardullo's has a deli with a sandwich bar and when I had some extra change in my pocket one day, I went in and got myself a sandwich, THE sandwich, before opening the store on spring day. I remember unwrapping it on the counter while I booted our store laptop, the lights off so I could have some privacy while getting things going, and looked at the thin sandwich worrying that my $12 was what I normally paid for two meals and a 3pm snack. I took a bite and was a goner. I immediately pulled out my notepad from class and began writing a description down. Rich, salty, floral, chewy and savory. It woke me up after a long winter of class and externing at a pretentious vegan restaurant along with working every night. Spring was coming and I knew what it should taste like.
The Cardullo's Iberian Panino
1 Ciabatta, sandwich sized and sliced open
3-4 slices of Serrano Ham or Proscuitto if that's what you find
2 slices of Manchego Cheese
1 T/Schmear of Quince Paste ( I used apricot jam because Brazil probably has no idea what quinces are)
Tools: Cuisinart Griddler or old school panini press
Method: layer, toast, inhale (while being thoughtful, duh)