Sandwiches are one of the most convenient foods to eat. Not only are they great for people on the go; they are also relatively easy to prepare. In fact, did you know that this is precisely how the sandwich got its name?
Before sandwiches were called… well, sandwiches, they were just referred to as “bread and meat” and “bread and cheese.” While the earliest record of this combo dates back to the 1st century BC, it wasn’t until 1762 that the term sandwich began to catch on.
John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, was a heavy gambler who liked to play cards all day. To avoid having to leave his table and pause from gambling, he would order “beef between two slices of toasted bread.” Eventually, those who heard him would also order “the same as Sandwich!” and the rest was history.
Fun fact: when the first Earl of Sandwich was offered an earldom, he had a choice between the towns of Sandwich and Portsmouth. Can you imagine eating a “Portsmouth” today?
Now that you know why it’s called a sandwich, let’s get into the more important bits: how to level up your sandwich recipe!
1 Choose your bread wisely.
While there are no hard and fast rules about what kind of bread you can use to make a sandwich, different types of sandwiches will use different kinds of bread, depending on their taste, texture, and fillings.
For example, if you are keeping it simple with store-bought peanut butter or jam, you can go for subtly sweet bread like pan de sal or milk bread. For savory sandwiches, bread such as ciabatta, baguettes, and focaccia not only complement the flavors, they are great vehicles for the fillings. Because of their tougher crusts, these bread are also great for open-faced sandwiches. For the multi-layer ones like the club sandwich, thinly-sliced loaf bread is usually used.
2 Make a savory sandwich recipe with meat and seafood.
Craving a savory sandwich recipe? Your choice of meat or seafoods are practically endless! Starting with the no-cook recipes, you can make a cold cuts sandwich in no time. From the humble ham to pricier cuts like prosciutto or salami, there is a range of deli meats you can choose from.
You can also cook your choice of protein. Want to add crunch? Try breaded pork cutlet or chicken, or even fish if you’re craving seafood. On the other hand, you can add a smoky flavor to your sandwich with roast beef, or grilled pork or chicken, or smoked salmon. Of course, you can also get creative with leftovers like adobo or bola-bola (meatballs), but if you really want to impress, you can also make pulled pork sandwiches from scratch!
3 Add a dose of freshness with fruits and vegetables.
Whether you’re trying to eat healthier or you want to add a pop of flavor to your sandwich, there are a lot of reasons why you should consider adding fruits or vegetables (or both!) to your sandwich recipe. For example, can you imagine the classic BLT sandwich with just the bacon and no lettuce or tomato?
For savory sandwiches, pickled vegetables like onions or radishes and coleslaws are great choices to add zing to each bite. Pickled jalapenos are a great choice if you like more heat. If you have more of a sweet tooth and prefer a dessert-type sandwich, you could pair your favorite nut butter spread with bananas, mangoes, or strawberries. You can also combine the best of both worlds by using more neutral-flavored produce, like avocado!
4 Bring it all together with spreads, sauces, or dressings.
Some spreads are great on bread by themselves, like egg spread, tuna spread, or cheese spread. Sweet spreads like fruit jams, coconut jam, and kinds of nut butter like peanut butter or hazelnut butter work great too when paired well with your other fillings. However, if you want to make sandwiches with more than one component, adding a sauce or dressing that complements your fillings will bring your sandwich-making game to a whole new level.
You don’t even have to settle with what you find on the shelves! There are many sauces you can make beyond the basic mayonnaise and ketchup choices. Mayo-based sauces like aioli or sriracha mayo are one of the quickest to whip up. Ketchup-based sauces like barbeque sauce and Thousand Island dressing may take a bit more effort, but are super worth it.
5 In any sandwich recipe, contrast is key.
The saying “opposites attract” cannot be more apt when it comes to sandwiches. One of the things that makes it such a great snack (or meal) is that each bite is an experience of different and contrasting flavors and textures in your mouth.
The most common way to achieve this is by playing with flavors and textures: pair mangoes with roasted chicken and you have a sweet and smoky treat. Adding fresh cucumbers adds a cool and crunchy bite to a soy-marinated fish sandwich. Biting into a perfectly toasted bread with gooey melted cheese inside is so simple, yet so decadent.
But if you want to take it up a notch, you can also play with temperature. Yes, you read it right: ever tried putting sorbetes or ice cream into a hot pan de sal? Or even putting cold tuna spread on toasted milk bread? Take a bite and you just might discover you enjoy it! (You’re welcome!)