Need some lunch inspiration? Check out Perfect Pairs: 2-Ingredient Sandwiches a photo gallery from SAVEUR.com. I want to try the smoked gouda and apple butter combo.
Tag Archives: Sandwiches
Here’s a guide to American sandwiches, with the BLT taking the top spot, naturally. What’s your favorite sandwich?
This week’s challenge was inspired by an article my husband saw in the New York Times Magazine, extolling the virtues of those cheesy, meat-filled sandwiches that taste so good after a night of drinking. Every college seems to have its own specialty, and the grandfather of them all is the Philly cheesesteak. My husband wanted me to create such a sandwich.
To be honest, I am not a fan of these types of sandwiches, as they are usually too greasy and heavy for me. So I tried to come up with a sandwich that pays homage to the cheesesteak and its ilk, but is still something I would like — that is, lighter and more flavorful.
While the resulting sandwich is not a true cheesesteak in any sense, we both still enjoyed the results. It begins with a toasted hoagie roll (my husband says the bun would not be toasted in a real Philly cheesesteak, but I am a Southern girl and didn’t know this; besides, I like a crusty roll). Before toasting, I pulled out much of the doughy insides, leaving a bread shell in which to stuff the filling. This keeps the sandwich from spilling out all over your shirt as you eat it.
Inside the bun, layer sauteed, thinly sliced chicken; sauteed red onion and mushrooms; sliced sweet piquante peppers; and sliced provolone cheese. The whole torpedo is put in a hot oven for a few minutes to warm it through and melt the cheese. Meanwhile, spread on the top bun a homemade chili mayonnaise of my own concoction to add flavor and creaminess. My husband doesn’t like mayonnaise, but that doesn’t seem to apply to homemade, flavored mayos, which don’t taste anything like the jarred variety.
This challenge was a definite hit, and pretty easy to make too. Serve with a pickle and oven fries. Next week: a Mexican menu!
I made this mayonnaise with a hand blender, but it can also be made in a blender or food processor or, if you are very industrious, whisked by hand.
Combine in the blender:
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Cayenne pepper to taste (about a dash)
- Juice of ½ lemon
Blend until well combined. While the blender is running, slowly pour in ¾ cup vegetable or canola oil. The mayonnaise should emulsify to a thick, yellowish-white consistency as you pour in the oil.
Mix into the finished mayonnaise:
- ¼ cup chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup roasted red pepper, minced
- ¼ cup scallions, minced
- additional salt, cayenne and lemon juice to taste
The finished mayonnaise makes 1 cup and will keep in the fridge for about 1 week. In addition to eating it on the chicken sandwiches, I used it as a dressing for salad greens and for chicken salad, and I spread it on turkey sandwiches. Yum! I think it would also be very good as a dipping sauce for fried fish or boiled shrimp.
For those of us, who don’t eat beef or are trying to cut back, a good turkey burger is the holy grail. A burger made from ground turkey seems like a good idea, in theory. In practice, though, it is often quite similar to eating a flavorless hockey puck.
The problem with most turkey burgers is fat, or lack of it. Because turkey is a lean meat, it doesn’t have the fattiness of ground beef to keep it moist when being cooked and to make it flavorful on the bun. I’ve seen a lot of tricks to “fatten up” the turkey burger, but so far no recipe I have tried has lived up to its promise.
Until I tried the Cheddar and Tomato-Packed Turkey Burgers in Lynn Rossetto Kasper’s How to Eat Supper. I have been trying a lot of new recipes out of How to Eat Supper since I got the cookbook for Christmas, and while the results have been fairly uneven so far, there have been a few unmistakeable home runs, recipes that I star several times and will keep making for years. I think this will be one of those recipes, as it is the only turkey burger I have ever made that actually tastes like a burger, that remains moist, juicy and full-flavored after cooking.
There are two secrets. One is incorporating cooked onions and tomatoes into the burger patty itself, which adds moistness and flavor. The other is inserting a few cubes of cheddar cheese into the center of the burger, which adds fat. Not too much cheese — as that would overwhelm the burger and probably make a mess during cooking — but just enough to punch up the delicious factor and make you feel like you’re eating a real burger. Plus, there’s the nice surprise of biting into the burger and encountering a gooey pocket of cheese, rather than just melting a cheese slice on top.
I won’t reprint the recipe here, as they have already done so over at Serious Eats, so just head on over there to get a copy. Or pick up How to Eat Supper. This one’s a keeper.
Cooking notes: I recommend making the patties ahead of time and chilling for an hour or so to help them hold together better while cooking. This is not a burger for grilling. It just won’t survive. Pan-fry it instead in a little oil over medium-high to sear, then turn down the heat to medium and cover to finish cooking through. I froze the leftover patties with no problems.
What’s cooking in August? Tomatoes! Also zucchini, peppers, basil and blueberries, but mostly tomatoes.
We have been eating tomatoes with pretty much every meal. Having such wonderful ripe, juicy tomatoes on hand sure makes lunch easy. Think of all the sandwich possibilities. Classic BLT, of course. Tomato, avocado and basil. Plain tomato with homemade mayonnaise. Open-faced tomato and cheddar, broiled. Chopped tomato with vinegar and olive oil on bruschetta. Tomato and egg salad. And the ever-popular three tomato sandwich. That’s just in the last week alone.
This week I might make stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce for freezing. Then, I must contemplate all the herbs before they go to seed. And we picked a few pounds of blueberries yesterday. I’m thinking blueberry frozen yogurt.
So, what are you cooking out of your garden?
Here are a couple more delicious summery recipes I found on the Internet that I might make this month:
This sandwich makes my husband lose his senses. I only make it for him once a year, on Father’s Day, which I’m sure you’ll understand once you look at the recipe. It’s not exactly the most healthy of breakfasts, but it is delicious!
The recipe comes from Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking, but the recipe is so simple that you’ll probably memorize it after making it once. There are a lot of steps, though, so make as much ahead as you can, and then assemble and grill the sandwiches right before serving.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Bacon and Fried Egg
Time to make: ~30 minutes
Yields: 1 sandwich
- 2 slices bacon
- 1 egg
- 2 slices any kind of bread
- cheddar cheese, sliced
Fry the bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Wipe out the pan.
Fry the egg in the same pan as the bacon to desired doneness. It is best to leave the yolk a little runny, as it makes the sandwich that much more delicious.
Heat a flat griddle over medium-high. Butter one side of each piece of bread. Assemble the sandwich with the cheese, egg and bacon, buttered sides out. Place the sandwich on the hot griddle and cook until well browned. Flip carefully and cook the other side. Serve right away.
Notes: If you are making several sandwiches, you will have to lower the heat between sandwiches or they will start to burn before the cheese gets melty.
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Ah, the tuna melt. Nostalgia on a plate. It brings back vacation lunches and those carefree days of childhood when I could eat all the cheese and mayonnaise I wanted.
I have been having this more “grown-up” version of a tuna melt, inspired by Italian flavors, for lunch this week. While it’s still comfort food, it’s also a little more sophisticated than the tuna melts of our childhoods. And for anyone who thinks that you have to mix tuna fish with mayonnaise, this is a revelation. I prefer to use the more flavorful Italian canned tuna that’s packed in olive oil for this sandwich, but if you don’t have any on hand, mixing a good quality olive oil with the tuna fish should achieve the same result.
Italian-Inspired Tuna Melt
Time to make: ~15 minutes
Yields: 2 sandwiches
- 1 can tuna packed in olive oil or 1 can tuna packed in water + 2-3 tbsp. good-quality olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2-3 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 slices bread, such as Italian bread, whole-wheat bread, focaccia or English muffins
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
Drain the tuna well. Mix the tuna, olive oil (if needed), lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Mound the tuna on the bread slices. Cover with the slices of cheese. Place under the broiler for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve open-faced.
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A sandwich is usually a mindless thing, slapped together for lunch out of whatever happens to be in the fridge. You don’t need a recipe to make one. But I think a sandwich can be so much more. That would explain the popularity of restaurants like Wichcraft and our own local gourmet sandwich place, Sandwhich.
I seesaw back and forth between the boring turkey and cheese and trying to come up with more interesting sandwich ideas. If I’m having a sandwich for dinner, though, I want it to be heartier and more balanced than deli meat slapped between two slices of bread. My husband’s request for chicken sandwiches for dinner recently got me thinking about how the humble sandwich can be so much more.
The trick is to get outside the routine sandwiches we’ve made so many times before and shake things up. There are three options for doing this:
The bread – Go for something out of the ordinary. I like to make a sandwich on half a baguette, because I can pull out some of the crumb, leaving more room for stuffing. A hearty crusty bread just makes a sandwich much more satisfying. Leave the pre-sliced bread for toast and search out alternative options.
The filling – Pretty much anything goes when it comes to stuffing a sandwich. Natural choices are leftover cooked meats and vegetables. Check the pantry for other options, such as roasted red peppers and marinated artichoke hearts. I like to throw on something I haven’t tried before to see how it works. Recently, I elevated a smoked turkey sandwich by adding blue cheese crumbles and slices of avocado. For the chicken sandwich pictured above, I julienned romaine lettuce with red onion and pickled jalapenos to make a kind of slaw. Chopping up the lettuce beforehand also made the sandwich a lot easier to eat.
The condiment – Sure, you can go for mustard and mayonnaise, but leftover sauces and dips make much more interesting sandwich spreads. Try pesto, aioli, homemade salad dressings, salsa or tomato sauce. Even a flavored oil and some vinegar will enliven a dull sandwich.
And don’t forget the salt and pepper.
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Bean cakes — or croquettes, if you want to get all French about it — are a wonderfully versatile dish. They work equally well as a side at breakfast, as an appetizer with a dipping sauce, on a sandwich or in a tortilla. Use any kind of beans you like, and vary the flavorings to suit. I generally make mine with a Southwestern flair, but cannellini with Italian flavors or chickpeas with Middle Eastern flavors are also good ideas.
I have also made these with lentils, without much success, but don’t let that stop you from trying if you are a lentil fan. The lentils have to be cooked exactly right, though. If they are undercooked, the cakes won’t hold together, and if they are overcooked, the cakes will be too mushy.
Time to make: ~1 hour
Yields: 2-4 servings
- 2 cups beans, pre-cooked or canned, drained and rinsed with some of the liquid reserved
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, whole with skins on
- ¼ cup cilantro or parsley
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup Mexican cheese, dry feta or Parmesan, grated
- salt and pepper
- breadcrumbs as needed
- vegetable oil for frying
- food processor
Saute the onion until browned, about 10 minutes. At the same time, toast the garlic cloves in a dry skillet until spotty brown on all sides and set aside to cool.
In a food processor, process the beans with a little of their liquid until chunky. Peel and chop the garlic. Combine the beans, onion, garlic, herbs, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Form this mixture into 4 large or 8 small patties.
Place the patties on waxed paper and set in the freezer to firm about 30 minutes. Heat about 1/8 inch oil in a large skillet over medium. Dredge the patties in the breadcrumbs to coat. Fry the patties until browned on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side.
Anything made into a cake and pan-fried has to be good. (Croquettes are traditionally deep-fried, but pan-frying is easier and better for you.) You can make croquettes with almost anything, and they are a particular tasty way of using up leftovers. For another style of croquette, try my Potato Croquettes. These Leftover Chicken Croquettes from AllRecipes look like a good idea for a quick weeknight meal. And here’s a recipe for Sweet Potato and Turkey Croquettes that’s a keeper for after-Thanksgiving leftovers.