Monday, August 03, 2009

Lavash Sandwiches: Recipe

Lavash Sandwiches
On really hot days, when I was growing up, my mother used to make an antipasto plate with dry salami, cheese, cherry tomatoes, olives, celery sticks, and various other things for dinner. We'd sit outside and nibble away until the house cooled down enough to go back inside. These days I don't have any outdoor space where I can eat al fresco, but I still enjoy a do-it-yourself style dinner now and again. Hot weather calls for some creative approaches to meals and my mom was right--lighter, less meaty, room temperature meals that don't require using the stove really help beat the heat.

A variation on my mom's antipasto platter is lavash sandwiches. If you've never used Persian lavash bread before you should try it. It's similar to a flour tortilla but square or rectangular instead of round and at room temperature it's pliable and soft. You can get it in white or whole wheat. Tortillas are great when warm, but cold or room temperature they are dry and gummy and not very tasty. I know plenty of "roll-up" sandwich recipes call for them, but lavash is a much better choice. I particularly like the lavash bread I get at Trader Joe's but it's available in supermarkets near me as well.

I admit I was inspired by this recipe on Epicurious, but I made some changes based on personal preferences. In addition to hummus, I also added labne, which is a creamy yogurt cheese, that way I can have two very different sandwiches in one sitting. I like pairing the hummus with cilantro and labne with mint.

This is a recipe you can make any way you like, use more less of the vegetables or another style of cheese or dip as you wish. I used the Middle Eastern spice mix Za'atar, but you could use fresh ground black pepper, Sirracha hot sauce or any condiment you like. Or no condiments at all. You can buy hummus or make it. For homemade hummus, there are tons of recipes online, I think this version is pretty good.

Lavash Sandwiches
Serves 4


Lavash bread
1 avocado, thinly sliced
10-20 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Bunch of mint leaves
Sprigs of cilantro
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 bunch radishes, sliced
1/4 cup red onion, peeled and sliced
Za'atar (see note)
1/2 cup hummus
1/2 cup labne
Olive oil for drizzling


Arrange all the vegetables, herbs and spice mix on a platter. Put the hummus and labne in individual serving bowls and drizzle with a little olive oil. Lay out large pieces of lavash bread, spreading knives and spoons for the ingredients. Spread dip on one side of the bread, top with desired toppings and roll to form a sandwich.