If you ask me, nothing can perk you up more in the middle of a busy day at work than knowing that there’s a gourmet sandwich waiting for you for lunch or breaktime.
During times of workday stress, a good sandwich can function as a mini culinary vacation, taking you far far away from transitory thoughts about deadlines, paperwork, and petty office politics; each bite making it easier to be here now. Right now. Bite by delicious bite. Nom nom om.
To lift a humdrum sandwich to gourmet status, one must select one’s ingredients carefully, making sure they are as fresh as possible and that their flavors harmonize beautifully.
1. First, one starts with a good foundation, the bread, which is the first part of the sandwich you will taste. If you prefer your bread to be soft, it should be pleasantly springy when you bite into it and non-pourous enough so that the other ingredients don’t break through, but delightfully crusty bread is wonderful too.
Toasting brings out the crustiness in any bread, so if your bread is too soft (or if the condiments you’ll be using might soak through too much), that’s an option to consider.
2. Next comes the main event: the filling. Popular fillings include such luncheon meats as turkey, ham, roast beef, and salami. However, cheese, marinated tofu, and such sandwich salads as chicken or tuna salad also work well (in addition to or as the main event).
Extra meatloaf from dinner, cooked turkey, and other leftovers also work well and add both convenience and thrift to your gourmet sandwich options.
If you often find yourself pressed for time, consider making a somewhat larger quantity of leftover friendly food for dinner, then using those leftovers to create an exciting sandwich for lunch.
3. Condiments. What icing is to a cake, condiments are to a gourmet sandwich; an optional but tasty compliment to the main event.
Oil and vinegar, hot sauce, cream cheese, a good quality salad dressing, and even flavored dip or sour cream can all help you break out of the delicious, but often overused sandwich condiment rut of mustard, mayo, butter, and ketchup.
4. The optional wow factor to take your sandwich to the next level.
Sometimes all a sandwich needs to go from humdrum to gourmet is a handful (or two) of wow factor ingredients which can add a little unexpected texture, crunch, and variety to your lunch.
Upgrade your iceburg lettuce to fresh spinach, romaine, greenleaf, or such mixed salad greens as mesclun and you will notice a difference. (This is also a great use for any leftover salad you may have.) Fresh coleslaw also is great on sandwiches, as are such marinated vegetables as peppers and mushrooms.
Spicing your sandwich with a little fresh dill, tarragon, oregano, or mint adds a memorable touch.
Relish, salsa, and chutney also add good savory notes to sandwiches. Sprouts, pickles, olives, and a sprinkling of seeds or nuts also add texture, crunch, and flavor too.
On the sweeter side, diced fruits such as pineapple or oranges will add a tropical feeling to your sandwich, but other fruits peaches and apples are good too. Dried fruits are convenient and can add a hint of the exotic to your sandwich when minced small. Such dried fruits as raisins, apricots, figs, and dates will definitely help you add a sophisticated touch you won’t soon forget.
Below are some gourmet sandwich recipes to help you make your lunchtime more adventurous.
- Julia Child and Jacques Pepin Make an Easy French Picnic Sandwich Together (Weekend Video Spotlight)
- Deep South Philly BBQ Cheesesteak Sandwich Recipe (Uses Leftover Pulled Pork Barbecue)
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