What do you think of when you imagine a sandwich? Two slices of white bread, some butter, a slice of cheese, maybe some tomato slices? If that’s your idea of a sandwich, here are five ideas that will take your sandwiches from blah to brilliant.
1. Grilled Panini
You need: one slice of cheese, about 1/4 inc thick (I recommend using mozzarella or provolone), one sliced tomato, 1/2 tsp minced fresh basil, two tsp olive oil, skillet.
The bread: A textured bread such as sourdough or ciabatta (erroneously labeled by my go-to baker Breadworks and the not-so-hot Daily Breads as “panini” – which is merely the Italian word for “sandwich”),
What to do: Place the skillet on a low flame to preheat. Slice the ciabatta open horizontally. Place cheese on the bread, then add a single layer of tomatoes. Add 1/2 tsp chopped fresh basil, and then close with the other slice of bread. Brush both sides of the panini with olive oil, then and place in skillet. Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
2. Pesto Chicken Sandwich
You need: 100gm paneer, 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded, 1/3 cup pesto, 1/4 cup grated cheese (I use Parmesan) some butter, lettuce
Bread: Your choice. Idea: try croissants
Make it: Combine paneer, yogurt, and pesto in a blender; blend to a smooth consistency. Stir in cheese, then add chicken. Butter your bread, place lettuce on it, and place as much filling as you like onto the lettuce. Close, eat, and enjoy.
3. Vietnamese bánh mì
You need: 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup finely minced fresh basil, 1 cup thinly sliced beef or pork, 2 tbsp sesame oil, garlic to taste, soy sauce to taste, 1 tsp sesame seeds,1 tbsp each vinegar and sugar, a handful of sliced cucumber, 1/4 cup grated carrot, 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion, a sprinkling of chopped coriander, tomatoes (optional).
Bread: French baguette – a nice chewy crust on the outside and a soft, spongy center
Make it: Stir the basil into the mayonnaise and chill. Heat the sesame oil in a pan, and add garlic. As the garlic begins to brown, add the meat. Cook for 30 sec on each side, then add soy sauce, fresh ground black pepper to taste, the vinegar, and a pinch of sugar. Set aside to cool. Slice the baguette and spread with basil mayonnaise. Layer the pork or beef with the sliced cucumber, sliced onion, tomato (if using) and grated carrot. Sprinkle with coriander, close, and serve. Extra oomph: toss some bean sprouts over the meat.
4. Egg Salad Sandwich
You need: 4 hardboiled eggs, shelled, 1 stalk celery, chopped fine, 1 tbsp mayonnaise, juice of half a lemon, 2 tbsp finely chopped dill, 2 tsp capers, sea salt and black pepper to taste
Bread: Your choice. I like whole grain bread – sometimes toasted.
Make it: Chop eggs into little pieces and set aside. Whisk the lemon juice into the mayonnaise, and add salt and pepper to taste. Add the celery, dill, and capers and stir. Add the eggs to this mixture, and stir gently until they are coated with the mayonnaise mixture. Place between two slices of bread or toast.
5. Avocado Sandwich
You need: 1 avocado, seeded and cut in half; 1 tbsp onion, minced; 1 tsp garlic, finely minced; 1 tbsp chopped coriander; pinch chilli powder; salt to taste; one or two drops of lemon juice.
Bread: Whole wheat.
Make it: Smoosh the avocado up, then add all other ingredients and mix together with a fork. Spread between two slices of whole wheat bread – no butter, no mayonnaise, no guilt!