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Simpler sandwiches


Simon_S
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Working at a desk in an office, many lunches are of the sandwich from a sandwich bar variety. Whenever I go into one of those places, I end up ordering a sandwich with at least 3 fillings. Every time. Recently, it dawned on me that I don't like sandwiches this way, and when I make one at home, I rarely have anything more than one filling.

Is the day of the simple ham sandwich, chicken sandwich, or cheese sandwich a thing of the past? Am I alone in liking a simple sandwich?

Si

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does ham and cheese count?

i rarely want anything more.

when i go to one of the sandwich places with the prepacked varieties, i find that very few of the sandwiches are appealing, they are just getting overly clever in my book.

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lately I've been eating sliced, hard, dry salami, and maille whole grain mustard on a french baguette. simple, easy, and incredibly filling.

it also gives my jaw a workout...what with the untoasted baguette and hard salami

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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Simpler is fine, providing the ingredients are high quality.

This trend of throwing in everything but the proverbial kitchen sink isn't limited to sandwiches. I notice more and more recipes for sweets - particularly biscotti, cheesecake, and chocolate chip cookies - that include 3 or more assertive "Diva" flavors in one item. :wacko:

Sometimes less is, indeed, more!

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I'm having about the opposite problem. I'm trying to find sandwich combinations that are more than bread, meat, maybe cheese, and mayo. But maybe you and I are after the same thing, and just coming at it from different directions.

To me, a sandwich with store-bought bread, mayo, and lunchmeat just doesn't cut it. If the ingredients are really good -- really good bread, good meat or other filling, and cheese and dressing that are chosen to go with the specific filling, what you're getting is a unified thing that can be quite delicious. For example, one of my favorite sandwiches from a local shop is roast beef, provolone, parmesan shavings, and black pepper-rosemary mayo on country french. When you bite into it, though, you don't taste any one thing; the rosemary and arugula are subtle enough, and the cheeses blend so well with the beef, that the result is a simple-tasting roast beef sandwich that is just very good.

I suspect that when sandwich places start piling on filling after filling, it just creates a dissonant mix of flavors that fight for attention. I'm with you; I don't want a lot of 'stuff' thrown together between two pieces of bread. A good sandwich should be as well thought-out as a good meal, and when that happens, it's great, even if it is extremely simple.

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It seems like the quantity of ingrediants is inversely proportional to the quality...if you have really good "stuff" for your sandwich, why muck it up with a bunch of other ingredients. Last night I had a sandwich of leftover grilled chicken (sliced down about 1/4" thick) on great portugese bread onto which I had mashed ripe avocado. Each bite, you taste both ingredients and can enjoy the taste of each. Too many items results in limited ability to actually taste any of the individual ingredients. And agreed, if the bread's no good, it's a waste of time.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Give me Black Forest Ham on dark rye with Swiss cheese and just a little mayo and mustard.

For example, one of my favorite sandwiches from a local shop is roast beef, provolone, parmesan shavings, and black pepper-rosemary mayo on country french.

But that sounds really good.

Edited by BarbaraY (log)
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Of course, for me a sandwich lives and dies on the quality of the bread, but that's another story.

Come on, Simon. You're telling me, you've never had a processed cheese slice, folded inside a piece of sliced white bread and thought "That is bloody fabulous!"

You sir, are a liar. :laugh:

Please take a quick look at my stuff.

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I too am a fan of simple sandwiches, with only a few flavors.

A grilled cheese with fantastic bread and cheese is just about the ultimate sandwhich for me.

... with cheese garnish on top/// i totally agree

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Come on, Simon. You're telling me, you've never had a processed cheese slice, folded inside a piece of sliced white bread and thought "That is bloody fabulous!"

You sir, are a liar. :laugh:

Guilty as charged!! While we're on the subject, I'm not sure I ever got over my student penchant for Mild Curry Supernoodle sandwiches. Okay, I haven't had one in about 10 years, but I don't think I'd refuse one if offered.

While I'm willing to admit this, what bothers me is the recent rise, here at least, of "Gourmet" sandwich bars who continue to spare ne'er a thought for the bread. The worst is O'Brien's, where the gourmet moniker barely applies to anything, but the bread is particularly awful. They make a big deal about it being "thick" but it's a barely digestible, cardboard flavoured concoction. Sadly, O'Brien's are now everywhere.

Si

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As we speak, for breakfast I am enjoying a fresh tomato sandwhich on homemade honey wheat toast with a light spreding of mayo that has been sprinkled with garlic and garlic tabasco.

It is wonderful.

And I now need to brush my teeth. :unsure:

Erin

"American by birth, Irish by the grace of God"

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I think I share the OP's taste in sandwiches. I live on ham/cheese or turkey/cheese sandwiches. I make my own so the 3 components - including the bread! - are always top quality. I vary the combinations to avoid boredom.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Two good slices of bread, some mustard, and a slab of cold ham.

or

Two pieces of white bread (the type that'll hold your fingerprints), mayo, cranberry sauce, cold turkey breast from Thanksgiving dinner's leftovers, and a bunch of salt.

or

A really good baguette streetside in Phnom Penh with that mystery meat the Vietnamese do, slathered with their approximation of mayonnaise (which you hope hasn't been out in the heat for too long).

What more can one ask for in this life?

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Come to France for wonderful minimalist sandwiches.

Great bread + thin scraping of Normandy butter + great cheese (or ham or smoked salmon or) + another thin scraping of good mayo (or Dijon mustard as appropriate.)

Die + go to heaven.

BUT.....

Every so often there is nothing quite like a Ruben or a BLT done right. I even long for an egg salad about once every year. And, yes, processed cheese with bologna, Miracle Whip and American mustard on white bread if I really want to go back to childhood!

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Two good slices of bread, some mustard, and a slab of cold ham.

or

Two pieces of white bread (the type that'll hold your fingerprints), mayo, cranberry sauce, cold turkey breast from Thanksgiving dinner's leftovers, and a bunch of salt.

or

A really good baguette streetside in Phnom Penh with that mystery meat the Vietnamese do, slathered with their approximation of mayonnaise (which you hope hasn't been out in the heat for too long).

What more can one ask for in this life?

I think that mystery meat is headcheese and damn it tastes freakin fantastic

fish sauce is so good, I bet it would be good sprinkled on some butter on a good vietnamese baguette (made with rice flour).

yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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I understand the desire for simplicity. Just came back from Florence/Rome and much of the panini there has but two or three ingredients in addition to the bread. Delicious nonetheless.

As my screenname suggests, I do this for a living. Taking the simplicity of Italian panini as a cue, I've tried not to overcomplicate things, but rather to combine flavors into something that makes sense.

Still, our best seller is a turkey club with six ingredients (peppered turkey, fontina, arugula, roasted tomato and pancetta with a meyer-lemon aioli) so I guess that makes me guilty by the OP.

On the other hand, the second-best is a tuna with just three ingredients (tuna salad, asiago and arugula). Although the tuna salad has cannellini, olive, orzo and artichoke in it...

We did make a dynamite grilled fontina with tomato on a sesame semonlina bread but nobody was ordering it so we dropped it from the menu.

Rich Westerfield

Mt. Lebanon, PA

Drinking great coffee makes you a better lover.

There is no scientific data to support this conclusion, but try to prove otherwise. Go on. Try it. Right now.

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Meatloaf. Bread. Butter.

Liverwurst. Bread. Butter.

Doesn't get much simpler than that, and they're two of my three favorites.

(The third is tuna salad (bread, butter), but do you count tuna salad as one ingredient or does each ingredient in it count?)

I consider a BLT a simple sandwich even though there are three ingredients because they each bring something to the whole, something that can't be left out, something distinct and unique and detectable. But a lot of these "throw on a single slice of everything sandwiches" are rather pointless because I can't taste anything, just kind of a mishmash that really doesn't have a distinctive taste.

It's when you start adding avocado and eggs and cheese to BLTs that they lose that impact. Not that I have anything against avocado on sandwiches, it's great with egg salad and tomato, just not on a BLT.

Marcia.

wishing tomato season was now instead of two months from now

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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Ohhhhhhhhhh, an avocado/bacon sandwich on crusty bread, with a schmear of good mayo, S&P, maybe, maybe MAYBE the thinest whisper of both sweet onion slices and dead-ripe tomato...........

*THAT* my friends, is a thing of beauty. Worthy of the gods.

I guess, for me, it leaves the domain of "simple sandwich" after about 4 ingredients, plus bread. S&P don't count. Multiple condiments definately DO count. Italian dressing, sandwich spread, oil and vinegar.........blech. Too much. Good bread, good fillings, a little binding schmear or drizzle, Nirvana.

IMO, its the excess drippy condiments and superfluous, bulk-enhancing fillers (i.e., shredded bad lettuce) that kill it. The fillings, well, how can you say no to a muffaleta?

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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