Building a Balanced Sandwich 🥪
This lesson is 600 words, a 2 min 24 sec reading time. It is the third lesson of Lunch 2.0.
Defined as a light meal consisting of two pieces of bread and filling between them, the sandwich is the ultimate canvas for the creative home chef. Beloved in almost every country in the world, there are countless sandwich recipes out there.
The easiest way to make a sandwich, however, is to use up whatever you have in the fridge. Go ahead and trust yourself. It’s pretty hard to mess up a sandwich!
Bread (e.g., roll, sliced)
Condiments (e.g., mustard, mayo)
Fillings (see reference guide)
Lightly toast bread (optional)
Spread on condiments & creamy dressings
Add toppings, slice & enjoy!
📓 Fillings Reference Guide
Tangy/sweet: mustard, salad dressing, relish, bbq sauce, caramelized onions, tomato
Aromatics: dill, basil, cilantro, horseradish, jalapeño, pepperoncini
📝 Notes Tips & Tricks
A sandwich is a great way to use up leftovers (e.g., roasted turkey breast, olives, cheese).
To elevate leftovers (e.g., short ribs, roast chicken), shred/chop them up, and crisp in a pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Any bread you are using should ideally be tasty enough to eat on its own.
If bread is too thick, it can overwhelm other flavors. For larger rolls or bagels, you can scoop out the insides a bit.
Some condiments are higher leverage than others. Pesto is creamy, spicy, nutty, and earthy - all at once! Slaw is crunchy, sweet, tangy, and creamy. Pickles & pickled red onions add crunch, tang, and sweetness.
Oily spreads (e.g., peanut butter, butter, mayo) serve as barriers against watery fillings (e.g., lettuce, tomato). To avoid soggy bread, slick them on first.
For consistent flavor, spread condiments to the edge.
To “griddle,” a sandwich brush soft or melted butter directly on the bread (not in the pan). This will help avoid burning/smoking as the butter under the bread is cooler.
For more flavorful mayo, whisk in some flavor (e.g., hot sauce, herbs, minced garlic, lemon juice)
When slicing meats, cheeses, & veggies, thinner is better. A mandoline can help.
Temperature contrast makes a sandwich more exciting (e.g., heated brisket with chilled coleslaw).
For more flavorful greens, dress them with a dash of lemon/olive oil/salt before adding.
Composition takes things up a notch. Drape sliced meats & vegetables for a dramatic flair. Cut along the diagonal for a sleek look. Stack items in a loose pyramid to avoid overflow & spillage.
A serrated knife is most deft in slicing through a hefty sandwich.
To shake things up, go open-faced. This works particularly well with dense, whole-grain bread, which can support the toppings.
To wrap without plastic, you can employ a reusable zip bag, cloth napkin, or wax paper.
Consider adding a little something on the side (e.g., potato chips, pickle, dried fruit, sparkling citrus soda)
Don’t get into a sandwich rut. If you try one new bread, filling, or condiment weekly, your repertoire will grow significantly.
The best sandwich is the one YOU like best. Follow your instincts & go for it!
🎓 Further Study
A Totally Obsessive A-to-Z Guide to Making Sandwiches [Bon Appetite]
How To Build Better Vegetarian Sandwiches [Bon Appetite]
How to Wrap a Sandwich with Wax Paper 🎬 [YouTube]
The Best Re-Useable Sandwich Bags [Real Simple]
📚 Want more? Check out Collections.