I feel like I should add a “Doh!” to my title since it seems like such a Homer Simpson thing to say. Don’t worry I’m not going to get lyrical about the magic of the sarmie… There really is nothing magical about bread, butter, cheese, salami, cucumber, mayo or lettuce. HOWEVER this morning I rediscovered power of these ingredients when combined in exactly the right quantities and order, to make the perfect sandwich.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “She’s gone bonkers…” Right? Am I right? And I also know you’re thinking: “Oh no, she’s not doing a whole post about sandwiches now, is she?” You’re probably having flashbacks of the time when Oprah ran out of material and decided to do a whole show on “Wearing the right bra-size”. A sad moment for television indeed. But this is nothing like that. I have lots to talk about (that’s a lie) and tons of interesting stuff to say (lies, lies, all lies), I just think it’s necessary to devote a little bit of my time to the lost art of sandwich-making.
Yes, it is an art. Ask anyone who’s ever had to swallow the wrong combination of ingredients on a slightly stale ciabatta. You see as wonderfully filling as a well-made sub (and I use the word “sub” because Subway has never disappointed… Well except for the one time on Joburg International, nut that’s a whole other story) can be, screw up the ingredients and you’ll have a disaster on your hands. I’m talking stoners-with-a-serious-case-of-the-munchies-wouldn’t-even-look-at-it-twice kind of disaster. I know it sounds a bit dramatic and you’re probably questioning my sanity yet again, but hear me out. As simple as it seems to make a sandwich, there are many, oh so many ways to mess it up. I contemplated writing a list of things NOT to do when preparing a sandwich (1. Never put the tomato next to the bread, 2. Never have the mayo next to the cheese, etc.) but even I could see that that would be a little much.
Instead I have decided to do a simple step-by-step guide to making the perfect sandwich.
Step 1: ALWAYS toast the bread. It doesn’t matter if you’re using white, brown wholeweat, rye, Low GI, baguette or a pita, toasted bread just tastes so much better.
Step 2: Butter the bread THE SECOND it comes out of the toaster. Don’t wait. Have the butter ready. Don’t waste precious time fetching it after the toast has popped up, it will get cold and the butter won’t melt.
Step 3: Add whatever salty spread you most like (my personal favourite is Bovril, but I think Marmite is the more vegetarian-friendly option) and IMMEDIATELY top with cheese. You might actually want to grate the cheese beforehand since the butter rule is also applicable here. Wait too long and the cheese won’t melt.
Step 4: The fresh stuff. Now you add everything that you would usually put in a salad. I always do tomatoes right on top of the cheese, followed by either lettuce, cucumber or both. NEVER put the fresh stuff (especially tomato) directly on the bread as it will make become mushy and your crust will be soggy. Ugh.
An important part of this step is to finish it all off with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Just sprinkle it all over. It makes everything taste better.
Step 5: NOW you will add the meat of your choice. I prefer salami or shaved turkey, but I made a great sandwich with some leftover leg of lamb the other day, so you really can use any meat. Or fish! Tuna’s also great.
Step 6: Man I wish I could do this in 5 steps, it would’ve been so much catchier! Anyway, once you’ve added the meat it’s time for the final touches. Take the other piece of bread (a sandwich usually consists of ingredients sandwiched between 2 slices), add either mustard or mayo (or both) and place it on top of everything, mustard/mayo side facing down, of course.
Voila! You have a perfect sandwich. Follow these steps and you can’t go wrong. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. I am to sandwiches what a barista is to coffee. Seriously.
Oh dear, I really did just write a whole post about sandwiches. If Oprah wasn’t cancelled I’d probably be on a plane to Chicago right now. Tyra Banks maybe? It’ll be an emotionally charged show entitled: “My husband left me, because he couldn’t stomach my sandwiches…”