“Who says concert food sucks?” Dave turned to me, looking quite satisfied with our little picnic on the field of Denver’s Invesco Stadium. We, I mean our food, caught the eye of several others near us who were nibbling less enthusiastically on their “food” bought at the stadium. A couple of people even went out of their way to comment on how good our sandwiches looked. It made me laugh because our fare was so simple — but then, you should have seen what they had to eat!
Yes, we were there to see U2. The 360 Tour. All thanks to Conor and Megan who generously gave us their tickets (and all congratulations to them on the birth of their darling daughter Clio this week!). But even with all the excitement and anticipation that preceeded the big day, I kept pestering Dave with one question: “What are we going to eat?” Maybe I’m a little one-track sometimes (most times), but I didn’t want one of the world’s best concerts spoiled with bad food. Dave is my research man, and after scouring all information available on the web, he concluded that there were no laws stopping us from bringing in our own food. Happily, I set to work planning an easy but delicious picnic. Sandwiches are always an obvious choice because they are easy to eat, but a sandwich has to be darn good for me to be excited about it and worthy of dinner at a U2 concert.
And then I remembered the antipasto sandwich! Long ago during my high school years, my dear friend Jenny’s mom, Claudia, would make these sandwiches for us every now and then. They were so simple, yet so tasty, and included all sorts of ingredients that were new to me like provolone and artichoke hearts. Not surprising from an Italian-American family, Italy’s flavors married in an American sandwich. Magnificent!
So, this is my “interpretation” of Claudia’s sandwich, with a couple of addtions such as hummus and herb encrusted cured salami. Delicious. Easy. And it sustained us through 4 hours of standing/dancing at a concert/event/spectacle that frankly, blew doors. The “stage” alone was a sight to behold, and during the concert, I couldn’t help but think about the number of artists involved to create such a Magnificent production. What do you get when you put so many creative minds together? You get U2’s 360 Tour: poetry, technology, the talents of the one and only Bono, a special message from Aung San Suu Kyi, and a worthy dose of attention on those in our world who are hurting and can use our help, including through ONE, a grassroots organization co-founded by Bono that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Enjoy a few highlights from the night (sandwich recipe follows)! Special thanks to Dave for his steady hand taking the great shots of the band!
The huge, 360 wrap-around screen showed all sorts of fast facts during the hour the band crew set up, ranging from local time in different cities around the world, to fun facts like Denver’s coordinates, to food-for-thought facts like number of days until we run out of oil, to sobering stats like average number of suicides in the world each day.
“What time is it in the world? It’s showtime!”
The Antipasto Sandwich
Inspired by Claudia Anesi
Note: Feel free to keep it very simple: I served these with a few cornichons, and a large bottle of chilled Pellegrino.
- Ciabatta loaf or rolls
- marinated artichoke hearts in olive oil
- grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- provolone cheese, sliced
- cured salami (I used herb encrusted)
- olive oil
- sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Slice ciabatta loaf into sandwich-sized sections. Slice sections in half and lay them open on a cutting board to fill.
- Drizzle one side with olive oil, smear a generous amount of hummus on the other side. Top oiled side with artichoke hearts, then tomatoes, adding another drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.
- Place two slices of provolone over the hummus side, then add 4 slices of salami. Fold this over to top the tomato-artichoke side.
- Wrap well in parchment paper, then wrap entirely in foil and place in oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Transport to your destination, be it the kitchen table or wherever you plan to picnic, and enjoy!