Tom Colicchio Talks Sandwiches

Wichcraft - Craft a sandwich into a meal, a meal into a sandwich.

Celebrity Chefs

Tom Colicchio Talks Sandwiches

‘Wichcraft — Craft a sandwich into a meal, a meal into a sandwich

-Betty editors

Love sandwiches? Check out Wichcraft (Clarkson Potter, 2009). It’s easily one of the best cookbooks we’ve seen this year!

Packed with delicious recipes, for both cold and warm sandwich recipes, and even breakfast and sweet dessert sandwiches this is our go-to cookbook. It’s also got tons of secrets for making the perfect sandwich and tips on stocking the pantry.

The index is great – eight glossy pages of mini snapshots of all the yummy sandwiches inside. A genius touch! And the love just grew when all the 12 recipes we tested not only worked, but were extraordinary tasting. The book can turn a plain old tuna sandwich or PB&J into something special!

Written by guys who really know sandwiches – Top Chef co-host, Tom Colicchio, and Mr. Sisha Ortuzar, his biz partner in their wildly successful restaurant chain, ‘wichcraft.

Must trys include: Stewed apricots and fennel with ricotta and pistachios; beer braised beef short ribs with picked vegetables; and gingerbread with rum ice cream and poached pears. Besides the sandwich recipes, you’ll also flip for all the delicious home made mayo recipes, relishes and vinaigrettes like black olive mayonnaise, pickled pepper relish, and sweet pickled red onions.

Here’s one of our many favorites from the book:

Slow-roasted pork with red cabbage, jalapeños, and mustard
Makes 4 sandwiches

While there are twelve or thirteen sandwiches in this book that Tom calls “my absolute favorite,” this one truly is Sisha’s.

We use the pork shoulder, a very flavorful cut that benefits from slow cooking-so slow, in fact, that we set the oven on the lowest setting and leave the pork cooking overnight, which breaks down the textures, develops the flavors, and renders a lot of the fat. For the amount of meat called for in this recipe, you can get the same great texture and flavor in about four hours.

This recipe has its origin in pork barbecue, which is often served with coleslaw. The cabbage in our sandwich-a nod to that side of slaw-is seasoned with olive oil and red wine vinegar. It is assertive and acidic, balancing the richness of the pork, while the jalapeños add a nice kick. Peppers vary in intensity-sometimes two slices are more than plenty while sometimes eight won’t be enough-so be sure to taste-test yours before layering them on.


1 tablespoon caraway seeds
3 whole cloves
1 star anise
1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 (11/4 to 1 1/2 pounds) boneless ?pork shoulder
2 cups shredded or thinly sliced red cabbage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 ciabatta rolls
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 large jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced


1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.

2. Combine the caraway, cloves, star anise, and peppercorns in a spice grinder and process until they have the coarseness of salt. Combine the spices with the salt.

3. Rub the pork vigorously with the spice mixture until completely covered. Any spice mixture that doesn’t stick to the meat can be removed. Place the meat in a roasting pan, cover tightly, and cook in the oven for about 4 hours. The meat should be fork-tender and some of the fat should have rendered into the bottom of the pan. Transfer the meat to a plate and discard the fat from the pan.
Increase the oven heat to 350°F.

4. In a bowl, combine the cabbage, oil, and vinegar and season generously with salt and pepper. The cabbage should taste quite salty and tangy.

5. Slice the ciabatta rolls in half. Spread the mustard evenly across the bottom halves. Using a couple of forks, pull the roasted pork apart and distribute some on the bottom and top halves. Place the bread in the oven and remove when the bread is lightly toasted and the meat is heated through. Add the cabbage on the bottom halves and top with the jalapeño. Close the sandwiches, cut into halves, and serve.

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