This is not your mama's grilled cheese. (Photo: neverend/sxc.hu)
By Leah Batkin, Networx
The sandwich, with its immediacy, efficiency, and largesse, is the epitome of American cuisine. The traditional sandwich, with a border of bread and a filling of meat, cheese and/or vegetables, satisfies every single taste bud on the palate. A testament to the necessity of the sandwich in American cuisine is the invention of gluten-free bread, because people who can't eat bread should never, Heaven forefend, be deprived of their right to a sandwich. There are few things better in life than a delicious sandwich and a side of homemade Doritos, and few things worse than a stale or soggy one (except for a peanut butter and jelly, which I find matures with time spent in a sandwich bag shoved into a brown paper bag left in a backpack that was crammed into a cubby or into a plumber's lunch box for six hours…).
Here are five sandwiches you have to try:
1. The Asian
Saute onions, celery, garlic and greens such as cabbage or bok choy in oil. Add some soy sauce and let it really cook down. Slather a pita with peanut butter and put the sautéed mixture inside.
2. Not Your Queen's Tea Sandwich
If you want to shake things up at the ladies luncheon, try this inventive tea sandwich. Once you have your de-crusted bread (the thinner the better) cut into bite size pieces, layer on some cream cheese and thinly sliced cucumbers. Add some thinly sliced strawberries, mangoes, or peach and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Or go for a kicked-up traditional tea sandwich. DIY blogger and Hometalk member Myra from MyBlessedLife published a fabulous tea sandwich recipe that involves mixing up a creamy blend of cream cheese, mayonaise and fresh dill. Head over to her blog to check it out.
3. The Child's Invention
This sandwich is reserved for the young at heart. Using bread of your choice (but really, you may as well choose that nasty white bread while you are at it), spread peanut butter on one piece, Nutella on the other, then add sliced bananas, chocolate chips and marshmallows in between. A wholesome lunch indeed!
4. The Meany 'Ini
The 'Ini is the Panini, of course, and it is the best thing that ever happened to the sandwich. Sure, you can eat a cold sandwich with flabby lettuce and stoic bread and call it a lunch, but why would you ever choose that over a Panini? The Panini is the Italian name for a sandwich made with hearty bread such as ciabatta and filled with meats, cheeses and/or veggies and then pressed down with a warming grill (aka a George Forman). My favorite rendition of this is the tomato, basil, mozzarella version - a timeless classic that absolutely never fails to subjugate my taste buds to its pure magnificence.
5. Not Yo' Mama's Grilled Cheese
This sandwich is an interesting twist on the timeless masterpiece known as the 'Grilled Cheese'. While the Grilled Cheese arguably stands on its own as a beacon of excellence, this adaptation, in my opinion, only heightens the sandwich to new levels of yes. Firstly, it's not just about the ingredients but also about the quality of the ingredients. Yes, a Grilled Cheese made from white bread and American cheese will taste good, but try using expensive artisanal cheese like fontina, sharp cheddar, or pulled mozzarella and hearty homemade bread, and you have got yourself a different sandwich. Now for the addition: sauté onions in olive oil and add some Worcestershire sauce until they caramelize. Add it to the sandwich before you grill it and experience great things.
Leah Batkin writes about New York-area remodeling and home issues for Networx.