In Praise of the Sandwich

Much like soup, a great sandwich can be assembled from so many on-hand ingredients, leftovers, canned items, etc.  The only thing that you cannot skimp on is the bread – the very foundation upon which a great sandwich must be built.

Our preferences range from multi-seeded multi-grained breads, either home-baked or purchased at the market.  Some loaves are too small when sliced for a sandwich, so cutting them on the diagonal produces much more surface area, and makes a nicer presentation on your plate.  For pre-sliced breads, an authentic caraway rye – generously studded with caraway seeds, crusty on the outside, slightly chewy on the insude – is becoming increasingly hard to find with the demise of independent Jewish bakeries.  But when I can find it, I’ll grab it up and foresake all others.  Other than that, Arnold Health Nut or 12-Grain, or similar breads available from TJ’s or WF, have really nice texture and taste.  Rolls are great too, provided their breadiness doesn’t overwhelm the sandwich materials they contain.  An Italian braided Scali roll is just about perfect – lots of surface area, too.

My favorite take-out sandwich of late is made on a quite large Scali roll and comes from Crossroads Café just down the road from our home.  Called “The North End”, it’s Boar’s Head all the way – prosciutto, genoa salami, provolone, roasted red peppers, romaine, tomato, red onion, and balsamic all on a braided scali roll.  Really enough for two, but I can’t help eating the whole thing, as I did just yesterday.  For $7.95, this is a bargain and a half, and puts any sub shop to shame with the quality and combination of ingredients.  I’ve put together a fairly comparable sandwich at home, but having someone else make it really heightens the satisfaction quotient.

For any meat-based sandwich – turkey, ham, roast beef – my schmeer of choice is usually Dijon mustard.  But once in a while, there’s that little bit of red pepper hummus or chipotle mayonnaise screaming out to be used.  Spread on both slices of the bread, then layered with sliced meats and cheeses, I like to put the lettuce, onion, tomato, whatever else, in the middle so it stays put when you take a bite and doesn’t slide out of the bread.

A side of Cape Cod reduced-fat chips and a piuckle, and that’s all you need for sandwich heaven.

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