|A Filthy Rich Doofus, But Still a Doofus|
|Everything In This Picture Is Good|
If your first thought of a Sammich is a slice of bologna with store-bought white sandwich bread, you’re doing it wrong. Very wrong. I'm here to fix that. It is time to dress The Lowly Sandwich up a bit and give it a chance to strut its stuff.
|Nothing In This Picture Is Good|
But appreciating and, even better, making your own good food means you’ve sometimes got to open your eyes and see a challenge in a whole new light. Sometimes, you’ve got to do that in territory that you might think has been well trodden. Can we turn the pedestrian Sammich into something that you dream about? Can a Sammich blow your mind?
The best way to answer this question is, of course, by example. I’m going to show you my take on a popular Sammich available in these parts: the Chicken, Brie, and Fig Sandwich from Earl’s Restaurant. Earl’s is a restaurant chain here in the Great White North that pairs a pretty decent menu with a pretty decent beer selection brewed on premises. What is not to like? Very little as it turns out.
First off, you need some decent bread. Bread is the foundation of a good Sammich, and a crappy bread is a crappy foundation. I recommend something like my No Knead Blue Cheese and Toasted Sesame Seed Bread (Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread with 40g each of crumbled blue cheese and toasted sesame seeds) described by a friend as “The best bread I’ve ever had”. And his mom was a baker. If you think you don’t like blue cheese, you are wrong. Blue cheese is amazing. The amount of blue cheese in this recipe is just enough to haunt the bread with its flavour, not beat you over the head with it.
Cut yourself a couple slices but don’t go too thick here. The bread is the foundation of the Sammich, but there is little worse than a Sammich that just tastes like all bread. That isn’t a Sammich. That’s just bread with some stuff on it. The slices in the picture below could probably be a little thinner.
|This Bread Tastes Like More|
|Don't Hate Me|
|Best. Mistake. Ever.|
Next up we add a bit of sweetness with a little applesauce. Again, I’ve had bad luck with store-bought. I have been disappointed time and again with anything out of a can. Want good applesauce? Buy a pressure-cooker and make your own. We make ours from crabapples given to us by our friends in the fall, after they have picked multiple five-gallon pails for themselves and can’t bear to look at a single apple more. The tang you get from these apples makes a delicious applesauce, so don’t go ruining it by adding sugar. Oh, and make pie. Not too heavy here. The applesauce, I mean. If you’re making pie, make it as heavy as you like.
|Jam Would Have Spread Better|
|[Insert Breast Joke Here]|
What I’ve been doing up to now is tossing the entire sandwich into the microwave for a very short period of time. How short? I can’t remember to be honest, but I seem to remember it was in the twenty second ballpark. That is just long enough to take the cold out of the chicken breast and apple sauce, but not so long that the applesauce is steaming hot. The microwave also does a pretty great job of making bread that might not be at its freshest taste a lot better. I also like how the warming of the bread brings out the flavour of the Blue Cheese in my Blue Cheese and Toasted Sesame Seed Bread even more.
I present for your inspection below the end result, cut in half and ready to be devoured in no time flat. It is good. Damn good. Is it a dead-ringer for the Earl’s version? Not exactly, but I did take several liberties along the way.
|How Good? Damn Good, I Said.|
|And What Is This I See Before Me???|
It didn’t hurt that I brought a nice new technique to the party. I was finding the lid of the waffle iron didn’t put enough weight on the Sammich to transfer the heat to it like I wanted. So I put my water bottle (about half full) onto the handle of the waffle iron, and I jammed a chopstick in there to prevent the bottle from rolling off. The beauty of this technique is that you can adjust the amount of “press” this ghetto Panini press puts on your Sammich by tweaking the amount of water in the bottle.
Based on the spectacularity of this Diablo Bread / Turkey Breast / Mozzarella Cheese / Dill Pickle Sammich, I can only imagine how mind blowing a waffled Blue Cheese and Toasted Sesame Seed No Knead Bread / Horseradish Mayo / Applesauce / Date / Chicken Breast Sammich would taste. But I have a pretty damn good guess. It would be definitive proof that there is a God and He loves me. I don’t know about the rest of you, but me for sure at least.
Good food is good food. Go make some.