summertime is picnic season! today we went on a picnic with the kiddo to meet some cousins and their news baby. they brought mini fritattas, lemonade, and kale & beet salad (i have only recently learned the trick of massaging kale! definitely more palatable raw once massaged), and we brought watermelon wedges, rhubarb squares, and sandwiches. initially i was thinking of some yummy sandwiches i had at the home the chef of the westerly: ricotta, arugula, and ... was it salami? pancetta? i forget - on a baguette, then sliced into manageable pieces. but one of our picnickers has a gluten sensitivity, and one doesn't eat pork. so.

i started by making gluten-free baguette, that was obvious. i thought about chicken as a filling, but it felt like just that much more work. instead, i focussed on stuff i had on hand already.

arugula is easy, there is loads growing in the garden. cheese - instead of ricotta, i went with an aged organic cheddar, for more umami and bite. but it's pretty crumbly, could get messy. unless it was melted.

also, if the sandwiches were grilled, and maybe brushed with some nice garlicky olive oil, that would lend some added crusty crunch, which is tricky to get with gluten-free baking, and no doubt sorely missed by the gluten sensitive.

finally, some sweet red onion balsamic relish. yum. they were a hit!

cheddar arugula picnic sandwich

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 baguette (made from jeanne's gluten-free recipe, in this case)
1/2 cup red onion relish
1 big bunch baby arugula, washed and stems removed
2 cups grated aged sharp cheddar (about 6 oz)

warm the olive oil over low; crush the garlic and add to the warm oil. simmer 2 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

slice the baguette lengthwise (i also cut it into 2 shorter halves, to make it fit more easily onto a baking sheet). brush with the garlicky olive oil, getting oil right to the edges, and make sure to spread the crushed garlic around too.

place oil side up on a baking sheet, broil about 4 minutes, till golden.

spread the red onion relish over the bottom half of the baguette. top with arugula. cover both halves of baguette with the grated cheese.

broil 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted. close the two halves of baguette to make a sandwich. cut into 1" slices to serve.

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