Cheesymite Sammies With Hot Abruzzese Sausage and Banana Pepper Rings

Even though I’ve never lived there, I get homesick for Australia all the time. I love reminiscing about the L.A.-like weather, the chill beach-town vibe and  the impossibly gorgeous harbor views I was lucky enough to see when I covered the Sydney Olympics for ESPN The Magazine 13 years ago. Sigh.

But I really miss the food. There’s plenty of world-class cuisine there, particularly on Bondi Beach (e.g., Sean’s Panaroma) and Circular Quay (e.g., Rockpool).

And two everyday Aussie foods I’d love to import and lamingtons — which are squares of white, spongey-like-Angel-Food-Cake cake dipped in chocolate and shredded coconut, oooohh — and cheesymite bread.

Cheesymite bread is baked with cheese and vegemite, a yeast extract spread. Ewww, you may say. But as long as you treat it more like salt and less like peanut butter, it’s seriously flavorful stuff.

I used marmite, a British/South African/New Zealand version minus veggie additives …

cheesymite marmite

… and Istara cheese, which melts nicely and has hazelnut and fig notes …


along with hot Abruzzese sausage from Whole Foods and pickled hot banana pepper rings.

cheesymite sammy

Drizzling the marmite and small cubes of Istara onto the Master Boule recipe from Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day was pretty fun.

cheesymite dough 1

Once the bread was ready …

cheesymite bread

… I sliced it in halves and layered the Abruzzese sausage followed by slices of Istara. You can nuke that for 30 seconds to melt the cheese a little bit. Then layer the hot pepper rings — for me, the more, the merrier.

I swung by (why do I want to say swang??) my old office to spring these sammies on my friend Caryn.

cheesymite caryn

“Wow, it doesn’t look healthy,” said Caryn, “but it smells amazing.”

“Nope, it definitely isn’t healthy,” I said a little gleefully as she took her first bites.

“Mmmm,” said Caryn. “The bread is oily but it’s delicious. It could use radishes or something. Let me get a bite with the banana peppers.”

“Yeah, you definitely need that to balance out the cheese and the meat,” I said.

“With the peppers, it’s so good,” Caryn said. “Because the bread is soft, it could use a crunch, and if people don’t like hot peppers, pickles would work. Or even these potato chips … ”

So for our last bites of our sammies, we both added two Kettle salt and vinegar potato chips, and agreed that crunch and tartness was a fab alternative to the pepper rings. Great idea, Caryn!

cheesymite selfie

Sandwich Surprise is always up for expanding its circle of food adventurers! Subscribe to my blog, or click here to follow my Twitter account, or here to like my Facebook page. Have a terrific holiday weekend!