Defining the perfect sandwich differs greatly between people. One ingredient may be hailed for its richness in flavor by one person, and chastised for its potency by another. After all, not everyone enjoys the same foods or flavors.
Of all the tasty delights one can make without the use of too many cooking utensils, the sandwich holds more titles than virtually any other convenience food. Ingredients, preparation, and flavor varies greatly between different types of sandwiches.
Measuring culinary quality is best done on a curve, but there are several universal tips that can please most of the people, most of the time. The difference between Chef Ramsey’s kitchens and your local fast food joint may be much less significant than you think. By following a few simple rules, you could be well on your way to making the perfect sandwich.
Here are some tips on how to make the perfect sandwich:
Use Better Bread
We’ve all experienced what it’s like to have a sandwich ruined by a couple slices of bland, dry bread. Think of a good slice of bread as being the foundation of your home. Sure the walls, floors, ceilings, and roof may be top notch — but if your foundation is dry and cracked, the entire home could be damaged.
Look outside of traditional breads to make your sandwiches. White and wheat are only two common flavors that most quality grocery stores offer. Various kinds of sourdough, whole grain, Italian, sweet, and others are usually available in the store’s bakery. In addition, pita and naan make great substitutes for more traditional bread varieties. Chances are, just about any kind of bread found at your local sandwich shop is just as fresh (and cheaper) at the grocery store’s bakery.
Avoid Processed Foods
This should go without saying, but you’re not going to be blown away by any sandwich meat or cheese that comes pre-packaged and sealed in containers at a factory. This food is edible, but it loses much of the flavor and nutrients that your taste buds will appreciate.
Visit your local deli, or the deli inside your favorite grocery store, and ask for the meat you’d like to add to your sandwich. Usually they can also handle cheeses. If you’re not big on spending the extra pennies to avoid pre-packaged foods, see if there is anything packed by the deli itself. You might save some money, but still enjoy ingredients that were prepared within the past 24-48 hours.
Don’t Skimp on Produce
It’s so easy to overlook the little extras sandwich shops usually add to sandwiches to make them better. Certain kinds of greens, vegetables, sauces, pepper, oil, etc. are all part of a commercial sandwich. Believe it or not, you’re paying big bucks at the shop for what amounts to pennies worth of actual produce. Pick up fresh produce at your grocer, and try a variety of different options. For me, organic spring mix is the perfect combination of greens for any sandwich.
Don’t Make Your Sandwiches Days in Advance
Packing your lunch is a hassle, and we don’t often have a lot of time to do it in the mornings. Don’t sell yourself short, though. It only takes a minute to assemble a sandwich if you have the ingredients ready to go. Once your sandwich is assembled, the clock is ticking on it before the bread becomes soggy (or dried out), the lettuce wilts, and the meat loses its juiciness. If you must pack in advance, keep the ingredients separate until you’re ready to eat.
Experimentation is one of the most important steps to discovery. How do you know what the perfect sandwich is like until you’ve tried enough combinations to find something you truly enjoy? Sure, people may say they hate sandwiches, but have they tried a meatball sub on jalapeño bread with a fresh marinara sauce? Some folks may argue that they’ve been having the same thing for years and nothing else could possibly be better, but perhaps a single additional ingredient could change their minds. Perfection is all relative, but with a little care and attention to detail, you could be building the perfect sandwich in no time.