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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