Served hot or cold, sandwiches are the most popular food served for lunch in the United States. In restaurants they make up a large portion of the menu and are the main item served at delis and other fast casual concept restaurants. Normally served as an a la carte plated item, sandwiches can also be served from a buffet under a heat lamp when hot or on a platter or tray when served cold. There are many variations of the classic sandwich with two slices of bread filled with meat. There are some basic tips that everyone should follow to ensure that this style of sandwich is the best it can be. They are:
- The meat must be shaved thin; this is the New York Deli secret. Three ounces of meat shaved thin makes the sandwich look much bigger and also yields a much more tender mouth feel than three ounces of thicker cut slices of meat.
- The ratio of filling to bread must be a least equal to if not more than the amount of bread used, this makes the sandwich moist, tasty and memorable.
- Spreads like mayonaise, mustard, butter or creamed cheese, must be very flavorful so as to be able to cut thorough the somewhat bland flavor of the bread and enhance the flavor of the meat inside
- Bread must be fresh and of the best quality available
- If using roast beef as in the Sante Fe Sandwich the beef must be roasted medium rare, seasoned well and trimmed of any excess fat. I like to use top sirloin as my go to cut for roast beef.
- When using lettuce and tomato make sure the tomato is ripe. Use two thick slices along with a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper. The lettuce can vary from Boston leaves, shredded Iceberg to Romaine as well as others.
Sandwiches are so popular and varied that it would take a volume of books to cover all of the different types that are being served and made today. For this post I offer two of my favorite sandwiches that can be served commercially or at home. They are the Roast Beef Sante Fe Sandwich and the Salmon Club Sandwich. The images were taken by Madeline Stanley at the University Club of MU. I hope you enjoy these two sandwiches as much as I do preparing and eating them.
Santé Fe Grilled Beef Sandwich
Yield 16 sandwiches
Roasted Garlic Chipotle Mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Chopped Chipotle peppers, re-hydrated and seeded prior to chopping
18 cloves Roasted garlic, mashed
1/2 cups Mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Chopped parsley
To taste Salt and pepper
Cabbage Jicama Slaw
2 quarts Julienne cabbage
1 cup Julienne jicama
1 cup Julienne carrots
1/4 cup Chopped cilantro
1/8 cup Lime Juice
3/8 cup Vegetable oil
3 pounds Thin sliced roast beef
32 slices Monterey Jack
32 pieces Sourdough bread
Olive oil for sauteing the beef and grilling the bread
- In a food processor blend the seeded chopped peppers, garlic, mayonnaise, salt and pepper together
- Toss the cabbage, jicama, carrots, cilantro, lime juice, oil, salt and pepper together in a bowl
- Spread 2 sides of bread with mayo and top with a slice of cheese on both pieces of bread. Continue this step and the next steps to make 16 sandwiches
- Top one side with a thick layer of the cabbage jicama slaw
- Sauté the beef, then sandwich it between the bread, slaw and cheese
- Brush the outside of the sandwiches with olive oil and grill or pan fry on both sides
- Cut in half and serve.
Note: Chipotle peppers are smoked Jalapeno peppers that are then dried. Jicama is a yam like tuber that can be eaten raw or cooked and is used in Latin American cuisine.
Club sandwiches are not as popular today as they were a few years ago. The standard club sandwich that was featured on many menus in the past was made with sliced turkey and Swiss cheese on one layer and a BLT on the other layer. What made it a “Club Sandwich” was the fact that three slices of bread bread were used in this classic type of sandwich. In this version, I use grilled or sauteed salmon with slices of avocado on one layer and the classic BLT on the other side. Instead of plain mayonnaise I use a caper lemon herb mayonnaise made with chopped capers, basil and tarragon. Alfalfa sprouts can be substituted for the Boston lettuce as well.
Sandwiches served with soup, salad, chips or fries will always be a main lunch food item. When created with imagination and adherence to using the best quality ingredients the sandwich can be elevated to an even higher level. Think Dagwood versus Bologna and American Cheese on White bread.