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Chef Amy shares picnic food ideas, basket packing tips

There are many things Chef Amy Von Eiff of A Cut Above Catering says she loves about spring, but one of her favorites is dining al fresco!

Tuesday, she joined us with a few picnic food ideas along with tips for packing a lovely and functional picnic basket.  

Pressed Italian Picnic Sandwiches (6 servings)


  • 1 Ciabatta Baguette cut in half to make approx. two 12-inch pieces 
  • 3 Tbsp butter 
  • 3 medium red peppers 
  • 3 cups arugula rinsed and patted dry 
  • 2 cups bocconcini sliced 
  • 10 oz Assorted Italian deli meats (I used Soppressata Salami, Capocollo and Napoli Salami) 
  • Balsamic Vinegar 
  • Olive Oil 
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste 


  1. To roast the red peppers: Set your oven to the Broil setting. Slice the sides off the red peppers and place skin side up on a baking sheet (*I like to trim the ends so they lie as flat as possible, as they will brown better than pieces that are sloped). Place under the broiler until very well charred (blacon top, about 10 minutes (watch closely after 5 minutes. You’ll want them to be mostly blackened on top.) Remove from the oven and immediately place the peppers in a plastic ziploc bag. Pop in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes. Remove peppers from bag and peel off the blackened skin with a knife. Discard the skin and slice the peppers in to strips. Place in a bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
  1. To prepare the sandwiches: Cut your ciabatta in half and butter each piece (or you could brush with a bit of olive oil, if you prefer, but butter will help prevent moisture from getting into the bread. Place a generous layer of cold meats (4-5 over-lapping layers). Top with cooled roasted red pepper strips. Take your Bocconcini slices and place on a piece of paper towel. Top with another piece of paper towel and pat to dry a bit. Top the red peppers with a layer of the Bocconcini slices. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the Bocconcini slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with a generous layer of arugula. Top with top slice of ciabatta. 
  1. Wrap each sandwich tightly with plastic wrap and place on a platter or baking sheet. When all the sandwiches are prepared, place the platter in the refrigerator. Place a heavy skillet on top of sandwiches to apply weight (if you don’t have a heavy skillet, top with another baking sheet and place some large cans on top for the weight). 
  1. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or ideally, overnight. 
  1. When ready to serve, remove from plastic wrap. If desired, you can trim the sides and ends of the sandwiches to make neat sides and to enjoy the wonderful colours of these sandwiches.