This big sandwich is casual, portable and festive: perfect party food. Make it a day ahead to let the flavors absorb into the bread. I sometimes throw this on the grill to crisp the bread and soften the cheese, but it’s just as good at room temperature.
1 teaspoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large ciabatta-style loaf (around 1 pound, often found in a square or wide rectangle), halved horizontally into top and bottom
1–2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup apple butter
¼ cup whole-grain mustard
4–6 ounces thinly sliced cheddar cheese
1 large apple, cored and thinly sliced (try Granny Smith)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 400°F and place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. About 30 minutes before cooking, toss the sugar, salt, cumin and paprika in a medium bowl and add the pork tenderloin, tossing to coat the meat with the spice mixture. Let sit until ready to cook.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is nearly smoking, add the pork and sear for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until the pork is browned all over. Transfer to the rack, place in the oven and roast for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the meat registers 145°F on a thermometer. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, prepare the bread. Place it cut side up on a work surface and remove some of the inside dough from both the top and bottom (reserve for breadcrumbs, if you like). Drizzle olive oil over both pieces of bread. Spread 1 side with the apple butter and the other with the mustard. Sprinkle with salt.
Thinly slice the pork and layer it over the piece of bread spread with mustard. Layer the cheese on the other piece. Toss the sliced apple and parsley with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Spread the apple mixture over the meat, drizzle the juices on the top and firmly press the two pieces of bread together. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before slicing and serving.
LEIGH BELANGER is the food editor at Culture magazine. Her second book, My Kitchen Chalkboard, about streamlining dinnertime for busy families, will be released this coming fall. She lives in Jamaica Plain.