The sandwich is not just one of the world’s most commonly eaten dishes, it is one of the simplest, and one of the oldest. It comes in many forms of course, hoagies in the US, tortas in Latin America, rolls in the UK and many more guises in which the basic, yet delicious sandwich is created. Since the beginning of the lockdown last year my good friend and the brilliant chef Javier Burillo and I went on mission to try and create some truly epic sandwiches, inspired by creations from all over the world.
What we learned during that time is that no matter where the sandwich is originally from or where it is being created, they are made up using the same basic ingredients, let’s take a look.
The Winner or Loser
You could have the finest ingredients from around the world which have been hand selected and nurtured throughout their entire life, with award winning taste being their destination. If however you took these ingredients and put them into a hard or tasteless piece of bread, there is no way that the sandwich is going to taste great. The bread is at the heart of it all and whilst it doesn’t make the sandwich as great as it is, bread does have the ability to kill or create the entire dish, so you have to select well. You need bread which will hold up under ingredients and yet is soft enough to chew through.
Now it it doesn’t matter what your choice of ingredient is, what is critical however is that you get the balance right between the moist and the dry. This is what let’s a lot of people down because they make a critical mistake when it comes to adding ingredients. We all sauce a sandwich, be it with mustard, butter, mayonnaise or salsa, perhaps even a little bit of everything. Once the sandwich has sauce however we then have to bear that in mind when we are adding salad items. Pickles, peppers, cucumber, all of these items are naturally moist and this can tip your sandwich over the edge. Be conscious of your moist ingredients when you are putting the sandwich together.
And finally you are looking for a great balance here between the saltiness of some items, the strength of flavor of items such as cheese, and the search here is to find items that can perfectly blend those strong and salty flavors with the rest of the ingredients. Playing around with certain sweet and light flavors along with harsher, stronger flavors, this is the essence of making the perfect sandwich and when you do get those balances right, this is when your sandwich making will really take off. There is a reason why so many sandwich ingredients commonly go together, and that is because they work every time, and balance each other out.
Great bread, a good grasp on what moisture is in there and then blanked flavors, the perfect sandwich awaits.