Among the many delights of Roman caffès are tramezzini. These triangular sandwiches made on crustless bread became popular in the post-World War II era, when the occupying American forces introduced Italians to our typical loaves of white sandwich bread, known in Italy as pane a cassetta. With crusts removed, the large slices of white bread are cut diagonally in half and filled with soft fillings like tuna, chicken or meat salads, eggs, or vegetables--usually bound with mayonnaise--soft cheese, or a creamy dressing. The freshly made sandwiches are arranged by the color of the filling and stacked up in glass cases, each one separated from the next by a spotless cloth napkin so that they are ready to be sold as snacks or as a quick lunch. The sandwiches are thin and elegant, never overstuffed or sloppy. The bread and fillings must be very fresh and the finished sandwiches must be beautiful to qualify as real Italian tramezzini.
If you make tramezzini in advance, cover the plate with a slightly damp cloth so that the bread stays moist and fresh. Use a good-quality white sandwich bread, nothing too soft or spongy. I sometimes moisten my hands slightly while making tramezzini to keep the bread from drying out as I assemble the sandwiches.
From "1,000 Italian Recipes." Copyright 2004 by Michele Scicolone. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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