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Sandwich a Day: Rapini and Sweet Italian Sausage Panini at Toast in Durham, NC

In this great country of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.

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[Photographs: Carrie Vasios]

I recently found myself at Toast in Durham, North Carolina, halfway through an eight-hour drive between D.C and Asheville. I was hungry, I was tired, and a good sandwich, I thought to myself, will give me the strength to keep on driving. If this sandwich is bad, I may just give up and move here. Duke has a food studies program, right? Luckily the super friendly woman working the cash register at Toast didn't know that my life was more or less on the line.

The Rapini and Sweet Italian Sausage panini ($6.50) far from disappointed; it excelled. The bread was a crunchy, olive oil-glossed beauty with perfect grill marks, and the slices of sausage were large, sweet, porky, and studded with fennel. Sausage and rapini is a classic pairing, but if the rapini is poorly cooked the whole dish can go awry. This rapini was cooked perfectly—it had been sautéed with garlic and a hit of red pepper flakes, and still had a snap. I couldn't get enough of the bitterness from the rapini, particularly as it paired with a hefty layer of asiago fresca. The cheese had the texture of melted mozzarella—nicely stringy and gooey—and the taste had a slight stinky, Parmesan tang. So Duke, you'll have to find another professor emeritus of Cookie Studies, because I'm on the road again.

Toast

345 West Main St., Durham NC 27701 (map)
919-683-2183; toast-fivepoints.com

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