It is safe to say that a working world runs on sandwiches. It is something that contains all you need to keep going, is easy to eat, needs no utensils and usually will not spoil easily. The sandwich came about in the mid 1700s when John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, requested his servants to bring him meat between two slices of bread while he was busy at his desk or playing cards. It makes sense. Too busy to sit down and dine? Grab a sandwich!
Regardless of the origin, its simply the most convenient way to dine. You can have your bread, meat, vegetables all in one sitting, all in one serving. Of course the Italians have the calzone or stromboli, which is baked with tomatoes, meat and cheese. Hamburgers can be considered a sandwich, or even a hotdog. But my personal favorite is the Thanksgiving leftovers. You get your bread, spread it with cranberry sauce, add your turkey meat, top with stuffing and brown gravy and that is even better than the meal itself the day after.
Today the possibilities are endless. We can get into bagels, white bread, or even pizza since it can be folded. But we are going to keep this simple here. Its simply an even (and this is important), an EVEN, proportional amount of ingredients carefully layered between two slices of bread and that can be a roll, loaf or anything similar.
Here are some of the all-time favorites from an Italian perspective. While the ingredients might vary from region to region (or even store to store), here are some common classics:
The Godfather: You really have to be old school Italian to enjoy this. Its mortadella, provolone, cappacola, hot peppers, roasted peppers, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Did we forget the vegetables? Add in sliced tomatoes, onions, basil or even lettuce.
Peppers & Eggs: The name says it all, its basically fried green peppers and scrambled eggs, but its not uncommon to also see potatoes in this sandwich as well.
Panini: This one breaks the mold because there is an extra process here where the sandwich must be pressed on an iron. Think of it like a grilled cheese filled with meat and vegetables. One of my favorites is from Vitamia Foods in Lodi, NJ which is grilled asparagus and provolone cheese.
Taylor Ham, Egg & Cheese (THEC): A Jersey favorite, Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese. I am not sure you can find this outside of the New Jersey Region, as Taylor Ham (or pork roll) was created in New Jersey.
Cubano: Who would think that you can have two types of in one sandwich? The Cubans created one of my all-time favorites. It has baked ham and roast pork along with swiss or provolone cheese, yellow mustard and pickles. Like anything, there are many variations, but most will agree on this very basic base for the sandwich.
Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato (BLT): When eating light, this is perfect, it should be a thin layer of bacon, lettuce, tomato, all served on some nice toasted bread with a thin smear of mayonnaise.
More to come…