What would lunches be like without the requisite sandwich? Years ago, peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, and baloney satisfied most people, but palates change with age, and sometimes you want something bigger, better, and more sophisticated. For the sake of simplicity and inclusivity, we'll define the sandwich as any food item with a filling-historically, either meat or cheese-in between two slices of bread.
You can find all sorts of variations on the sandwich throughout the world: gyros in the Mediterranean and Middle East, paninis in Italy, and the banh mi in Vietnam, just to name a few. Sandwiches born in the United States include the Dagwood (a multitiered sandwich consisting of meats, cheese, and various condiments), the sub (cold cuts, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and condiments on a long roll, its shape reminiscent of a submarine), the BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato, usually with mayonnaise), and the Elvis (peanut butter and bananas, grilled on a pan). And don't forget your condiments, sauces, and sides like mustard, mayonnaise, and pickles. They'll add lots of flavor and make your sandwich feel more like a meal.
Use It or Lose It
If you buy deli meats, be sure to eat them within a few days of purchase. The USDA recommends that you keep cold cuts for only three to five days. Reduce the chances for food poisoning by keeping the meats in a fridge that's 40°F or cooler.
Sandwich bread is bound to get a little soggy, so minimize that by using bread that's dense and has a thicker crust, like a baguette. If you like your bread on the thin side, toast it so it can hold the weight of your filling as well as absorb the moisture and be easy to hold.
How to Keep?
Bread doesn't stay fresh for very long. It will retain that moist, soft quality for a few days at room temperature, but over time it grows stale and hard, and loses its fresh taste. Wrapping bread in foil or a sealable bag will help prolong its life. Also consider freezing it.
- If you plan to create your sandwich later, carry the components in separate containers so the flavors don't mix.
- Sandwiches in sealable bags can shift and lose some of their contents, so wrap them up in wax paper, foil, or plastic wrap-anything that will conform to the shape of the sandwich and keep things in place.
Meat and Poultry Sandwiches
Sandwiches for the Vegetarian
A.M. and P.M.
Esther Sung first joined Epicurious.com in 2006. Prior to this, she spent several years in book publishing, including at Harper Entertainment, where the proverbial three-martini lunch was sadly nowhere to be found. When not in the office, she moonlights at the Bottle Shoppe in Williamsburg , Brooklyn , and through this she has developed a fondness for Syrah and Malbec. A quasi-vegetarian, she admits to having relished eating yuk hwe, a Korean raw beef dish.
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