It is highly debatable that there would be anyone who does not know about this popular food. A sandwich is a finger food that uses two or more slices of bread as a kind of container for other types of food. A typical sandwich contains bread with at least one filling, which could be meat or any veggie. Due to its handy nature, a sandwich can be made by using a ton of combinations.
A virtue of the west, sandwiches are popular for their simple preparation, portability, and endless combos that can be used for them. It is believed that 300 million sandwiches are eaten in America in a single day (source). Usually, sandwiches are used as a wrapped food item so that they can easily be carried in a bag or a container. They are a favorite among kids who love to take different types of sandwiches to schools as lunch. It is also a famous thing to carry to a countryside picnic and for parties.
Origin of Sandwich
The true origins of the sandwich are unknown. It probably goes back to as far as meat and bread. But there is an interesting legend that qualifies the name this food item has. It is said that John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, had a serious problem of gambling and munching. As a gambling session, he ordered his cook to bring something to eat that won’t require him to get up from his seat. The historical cook bought him slices of bread with meat inside. The earl enjoyed it so much that he frequently began to eat this new food item. The word grew about this, and hence sandwich was born. It is understandable where it got its name from.
It is said that John Montagu traveled to the Mediterranean, where it was common among Turks and Greeks to serve bread with meat along with a variety of dips and sauces. It is highly likely that Mortagu took inspiration from this and ordered his cook to bring a similar dish.
Types of Sandwiches
There are hundreds of ways to make a sandwich. It can be made from expensive ingredients or left-over chicken. Either way, it fills a hungry tummy. Based on the ingredients and type of fillings, there are several types of sandwiches, including:
As the name suggests, open sandwiches do not have a slice of bread on top of the fillings. Fillings are placed on a slice of bread, and they are often drizzled with olive oil. These types of sandwiches are best as snacks.
These are smaller cut pieces from a larger wrap. A large tortilla or flatbread is taken and filled with various toppings. The tortilla is then rolled tightly and cut into 3 inches of separate wheels.
These are multilayered sandwiches made from soft bread, meat, veggies, and mayonnaise. They are usually cut in triangles and are skewered so that they would maintain their shape.
Hoagie or Submarine Sandwich
Hoagie or submarine sandwiches are made from cylindrical-shaped loaves of bread like a baguette that is cut length-wise. It contains a variety of fillings, including but not limited to ham, salami, cheese, and veggies.
Made from pita bread, pocket sandwiches are a favorite in the Middle East region. The large air pocket of the pita is filled with dry fillings such as meat, veggies, and cold cheese.
Essentials – Bread, Sauces & Fillings
The quality of a sandwich depends upon a lot of factors revolving around the choice of ingredients. Be it a sauce or spread, everything matters. It is important to know what type of bread to use and what condiment goes well with what sauce.
Types of Bread used In Sandwiches
Bread is made in different shapes and sizes. They vary depending on the type of flour that is used and other seasonings. Different types of bread are used for specific food items because of the variations in taste and texture. Following is a list of bread that can be used to make the best sandwiches:
The name translates to a slipper in Italian; Ciabatta is Italian bread. It is made with whole wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt. The crusty texture of this bread makes it a good choice for sandwiches and Paninis.
Whole Wheat Bread
This bread is essentially great for people following a healthy diet. This is because the flour used to make this bread uses almost the whole grain of wheat. There are plenty of fibers in it that makes it a healthier choice compared to white bread.
A very beautiful-looking bread, sourdough, is made from a fermented mixture. The fermentation causes large air bubbles inside the bread, giving it a crispy outside crust and a softer inside. This bread makes a mean grilled cheese.
It is made from a combination of wheat flour and rye flour. Rye flour gives a different taste and tight crumb pattern. Seeds like dill seeds and caraway are often used in the dough.
An essential in Arab and Gulf countries, this one is a flatbread. Unlike other bread, they are baked at high temperatures, which gives it a large air pocket in the middle. This air pocket is filled with a delicious combo to make shawarmas and other wraps.
It is a French bread that is made using eggs and butter in the dough. It is super light and gets a lovely golden color due to the egg wash applied before baking.
Best Condiments for Sandwiches
A sandwich is nothing without its insides. The choice of fillings is all that matters, along with sauces and dips. What should be used to make the best sandwiches? We have done some homework for you to follow:
1. BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomatoes)
The holy trinity in the sandwich world! Although these are just three ingredients, food critics suggest that they need to be top-notch in quality. The bacon needs to be freshly fried and hot when placed on the bread, while the lettuce should be any type except iceberg, and bread must be toasted from both sides. Only then can you make a perfect BLT sandwich.
2. Tuna and Cheese
Sounds strange, but this is a classic combination for a reason. Often served as an open face, this combined tuna salad, and melted cheese. Rye bread is suggested to make this type of sandwich.
3. Grilled Cheese
The classic favorite of every American teenager. A simple sandwich made from cheese between two slices of well-toasted bread. The only concern here should be the type of cheese – make sure that it is the one which oozes easily like cheddar or gruyere.
4. Rueben Sandwich
A sandwich of a messy kind, it holds a mountain of filling, including pastrami, Swiss cheese, pickles, and a lot of Russian dressings. These are the kind of hearty fillings that you can enjoy on a winter evening all by yourself. All these ingredients go super well with each other and require a tight crumb bread like the one made from rye.
5. Steak and Cheese
A Philly steak sandwich somewhat looks like a hot dog. It contains thin slices of steak with melted cheese drizzled over it. The steak needs to be thinly sliced from sirloin or ribeye. Italian bread often complements these ingredients.
What Makes a Sandwich Good?
There are a few tips to follow that will eventually make a sandwich taste out of this world. Of course, dry slices of bread and a cold piece of meat can make a sandwich, but will it be good enough to serve to your special guests? Following are some of the tips to follow to make a great sandwich:
1. Choose a Spread
Butter and mayonnaise are common spreads, but it gets boring with just three two. You can make a good spread, or you can use a bottled one. An Indian chutney with masala chicken makes a delicious combo. Similarly, a fried chicken is better eaten with BBQ sauce over slices of bread. All you have to do is be creative.
2. Choice of Bread
While this one could depend on personal choice, you cannot choose soft bread with wet ingredients to make a sandwich. It will become all messy and soggy. Choose the right type of bread, considering the ingredients you have at hand.
3. Balanced Taste
You should know what type of sauce goes with what kind of meat. A sweet sauce may taste okay to some, but it will hardly taste good with beef. The correct balance of savory and sour is somewhat tricky to achieve, but practice makes a man perfect.
4. Keep it Simple
A few ingredients that complement each other well are far better than 10 extra ingredients that don’t go well with each other. Fresh ingredients can do wonders on their own.
5. Add a Crispy Ingredient
Fresh veggies like lettuce and onion give a good crunch with every bite.
Whether you are running late for the office or sending your kids off to school, sandwiches are among the best food items that you can prepare without wasting any time. They taste great, feel light on the stomach (without all that cheese and cream inside), and easy to make. Even if you don’t have any ingredients at home, take two pieces of bread, put some chicken spread or peanut butter, and a simple yet delicious sandwich is ready.