Handheld and versatile, sandwiches offer all of the ease and playfulness of a pair of summer flip-flops. Eaten with the fingers, they’re at once fulfilling and fun, not to mention easy to make, fast and inexpensive. But sandwiches shouldn’t be confined to just the lunchbox—when layered with vegetables and protein in unique combinations, they can be transformed into nutritious dinnertime meals with enough finger-licking charm to assuage any appetite.
While the imagination is the limit when it comes to building a sandwich, the best creations are distinguished by their balance of flavor, texture and temperature.
Start with flavor: instead of piling on the fixings and condiments, opt for fewer, higher-quality ingredients. You should be able to taste each component, with a balance between acidic, salty, bitter and sweet flavors. Next, incorporate different textures, such as crunchy and soft, or chewy and crispy. If you have a gooey interior like melted cheese, for instance, opt for toasted bread or a crisp slice of pickle or apple to liven things up. Finally, balance warm or spicy flavors with cool and crisp ones, such as pairing spicy pulled pork with a creamy, cool slaw. And don’t be afraid to heat things up. While cold sandwiches are great for brown-bag lunches, at dinnertime a toasted or grilled sandwich can be twice as satisfying.
With the right balance, you’re sure to end up with a delicious, hand-held meal every time.
—By Nicki Sizemore