Hey all!! Who's up for a little 'almost back to school but not quite' sandwich love? I mean, I know summer is still on here in the west, but now is the time to start looking ahead as the leaves start to turn and the days start to sneak ever so slowly towards being shorter. This post is all about the simple sandwich, which to many might seem simple & obvious, but if you look closely, there is just so much to love about a really good sandwich, and I for one can always use a reminder of that.
I know there are a million great options for lunches out there, and given the choice I will almost always choose a salad or a light simple option instead of something heavy (in truth I often skip lunch too in favour of a heartier breakfast). I do eat bread but not a lot, and to me, a sandwich is only worth eating if it's killer. So what does killer mean to me? Let me explain.
Like anything, in my opinion, the best sandwich is the simplest sandwich. Made with just a few ingredients that are truly great, because anything made with care & goodness always satisfies in more ways than with just physical nourishment. This starts with nothing but excellent bread (only the freshest handmade bread will do). You can make your own, and if you haven't yet, I seriously recommend you try this easy no knead bread recipe (it's almost criminally easy). Otherwise, buy a loaf of good crusty sourdough bread from your favourite local bakery - you'll always be glad you did (and so will they).
Next, add fresh & vibrant vegetables, in summer there is no shortage here: tomatoes, lettuce, onions, cucumbers, sprouts. Next, add a little something to add flavour (aka fat & protein): hummus (there are a few on my recipe page), a favorite pesto, a sharp cheese, or a ripe sliced avocado is the best place start. Protein is optional, and I still get giddy when I recall the best sandwiches enjoyed in France.....great bread, incredible cheese, ripe juicy tomato, all quality, all incredible. That was it.
On my weekend trip to my parents house last week, this was the sandwich we enjoyed at our picnic, and it's a classic that will never go out of style. Using bread from the amazing bakery across the street, an island grown beefsteak tomato & red onion, as well as freshly picked lettuce from their backyard garden, all I added was a little cheddar cheese and we were done.
Seems easy, and seems simple, and it is. In fact, I think it might have been somewhat of a miracle...fresh food grown with sunshine, water, and loving care and bread created with loving hands & a hot wood burning oven. Yup, pretty amazing when you break it down. What's your favorite way to scratch your sandwich itch?
Fresh Tomato, Cheese & Lettuce Sandwich with Fresh Crusty Bread
- 2 slices your favourite fresh crusty bread (a classic French loaf, or this recipe)
- a little butter or olive oil (or a pesto or hummus)
- a few slices sharp white cheddar
- (2) slices thick ripe red tomato
- a perfect handful of tender lettuce leaves
- a few rings of thinly sliced red onion
- salt & pepper
I think we are all pretty experienced when it comes to putting a sandwich together, but just in case, here is the order I go: butter or pesto to grease the bread. To get those fillings going, on one piece pile the lettuce, then the onion. On the other piece, layer the cheese to cover up the buttered bread, and stack the tomatoes in one layer to cover. Sprinkle the tomato with salt & pepper as desired and carefully put the two sides together.
There is nothing worse (well maybe there is, actually definitely there is), than soggy bread from a ripe tomato touched up against it. To ensure bread that stays crusty and not soggy, the tomato should be layered between a shield of cheese or something sturdy (slices of tofu or lettuce). Butter or soft spreads don't do much to prevent sogginess, and I for one have had one too many sandwiches returned uneaten on account of the bread being 'soaked in tomato juice'. Not good.
Enjoy your delicious sandwich, be grateful, and dream. I'm dreaming of my next great sandwich now and also recalling some of the great memories I've had that go with them. We've all got them ~ what are yours?