Sunday, August 3, 2014

How to Make a Good Sandwich at Home + Chicken Sandwich with Heirloom Tomato and Avocado on Sourdough

How to Make a Good Sandwich at Home + Chicken Sandwich with Heirloom Tomato and Avocado on Sourdough

It's the height of summer, which means one thing: you should be making lots of sandwiches! 

Not what you were expecting to me say? 

Fact: the perfect sandwich recipe (if there is such a thing) is made with super fresh ingredients. 

It's an ensemble dish, which means that each ingredient is important. Every bread slice, tomato chunk, mustard squirt, and ham hunk works together to form a collective deliciousness

One flaccid piece of lettuce or soggy bread slice ruins the whole thing. At that point you might as well pick up a deli sandwich from the gas station that's been sitting in its plastic clam shell for two weeks without molding because it's chock full of preservatives. Okay, maybe I'm a tad dramatic, but there's no comparing flavors or texture.

When is the best time to find fresh produce for said perfect sandwich recipe? 

Mid to late summer. Right about now if you're in the Northern hemisphere.

So while you're hoarding stocking up on summertime produce such as zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, yellow squash, and peppers, don't forget to set veggies aside for sandwiches. 

They make a quick lunch with leftover protein and you can even dress them up with fancy ingredients for a simple weeknight meal. Like a brie grilled cheese sandwich with a sweet and savory jarred chutney. Just spit-balling here.

Another thing--please use fresh baked bread, not the commercially pre-sliced (soft) stuff.

Seek out a local bakery, visit the farmer's' market, bake it yourself, bribe your grandma, barter with a neighbor--I don't care. Do whatever it takes to get some fresh baked bread. It makes all the difference between a lackluster and stellar sandwich.

My favorites are sourdough, bâtard, focaccia and rye. Use whatever you like as long as it's fresh and has good texture (whether that be soft or crusty)!

Need some gluten-free bread options? Try these: gluten free bread recipe, gluten free bread recipe (without brown rice flour), paleo sandwich bread (with cashew meal), paleo sandwich bread (with almond butter).

How to Make a Good Sandwich at Home

How you build the sandwich is just as important as the ingredients used within. There is no single perfect build; however, there are a few general guidelines you should follow in order to achieve a better sandwich eating experience.

  1. Create a barrier between the bread and any ingredients with liquid. Soggy bread is a NO NO! Try a layer of healthy fat like grass-fed butter, mashed avocado, homemade mayonnaise, or genuine olive oil, plus several pieces of lettuce. I usually do both.
  2. Don't place slippery ingredients next to each other. For example, tomato and avocado slices should be separated by a sturdy ingredient like meat, cheese, hummus, etc.
  3. Don't be afraid of sauces and spreads with fats. They are key to a good sandwich, healthy fats keep you full longer and they are necessary for your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins. You do not want to bite into a bone-dry husk and come up coughing. It doesn't mean you need to slather on mayo. Even something as simple as a fresh hummus made with olive oil would work! Did you catch the Time Magazine article explaining that butter is actually a healthy fat? That the scientists and nutritionists got it all wrong? I've been on the grass-fed butter bandwagon for awhile now, but if you're still buying I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, puhhhlease throw that tub in the trashcan.
  4. Build wide, not tall. While it's tempting to layer all your ingredients vertically, you'll end up with the leaning tower of pizza and that shiz will fall over and make it half impossible to eat without spilling everywhere. That's why I like choosing longer pieces of bread, especially if they're crusty.

Chicken Sandwich with Heirloom Tomato & Avocado on Toasted & Buttered Sourdough Bread
Tips for how to make a good sandwich at home + a simple recipe for a chicken sandwich with heirloom tomato and avocado on sourdough bread. 
Serves: 2

4 thick-cut slices of sourdough bread, lightly toasted
Mayonnaise or spicy roasted red pepper sauce
4 pieces of romaine lettuce (from the inside, so it's crispier)
1 Heirloom tomato, sliced
Sea salt (I used THIS)
Cracked black pepper
Baked chicken breast or whole roasted chicken (shredded)
1/4 a large avocado, sliced (pan-fry them first for extra deliciousness)

Recommended Equipment
serrated knife 

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Use a serrated knife to cut the bread into semi-thick slices of even length and toast both sides lightly. You want the outside slightly crispy, but the inside still soft. While that's toasting, slice the tomatoes into whatever thickness you prefer and cut up or shred the cooked chicken if it's not already prepared. 

When the bread is toasted, spread the insides (and outsides if you want it extra yummy) with REAL butter and then a layer of either mayonnaise or my spicy roasted red pepper spread. Choose the bottom piece of sourdough bread for each sandwich and layer on the lettuce (break up into smaller pieces if need be) and tomato slices. 

Sprinkle the tomatoes with a little bit of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Pile on the chicken, top with sliced avocado, then finish with the last piece of toasted sourdough. Cut in half and serve immediately!

More Recipes From The Rising Spoon:

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How to Make a Good Sandwich at Home + Chicken Sandwich with Heirloom Tomato and Avocado on Sourdough

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