5 Helpful Tips for Great Back to School Sandwich Making

sandwich making tips

The Sandwich has a very special place in many people’s hearts. Each of us has a particular favourite – a combination that is exclusive to their tastes and style. Maybe it is a hot sandwich served on a classic French roll or a fresh deli sliced turkey on your favourite multigrain sliced bread. With back to school right around the corner, here are 5 helpful tips to make sure you get your quick snack or lunchtime meal just right.

1. Spread Out

Sandwich spreads add flavor but also perform the essential task of lending moisture and sometimes creaminess to sandwiches. Mustard and mayo are the familiar standbys, but don’t stop there. It’s well worth experimenting with the following:

  • Vinaigrettes,
  • Pestos,
  • BBQ sauces,
  • Chutneys, and
  • Salsas

2. Use the Right Bread

Choose bread appropriate to the sandwich you’re making. Pair moist fillings with soft, fluffy breads and you’ve got a recipe for a sponge, not a sandwich. As a general rule, the moister the filling the drier and denser the bread should be. A good, thick crust helps, too. Swap in large flour tortillas, if you like, for moist fillings. They keep ingredients in check and maintain their integrity much better than many types of bread.

3. Choose To-Go Toppings

We love lettuce and tomato in sandwiches. They lend moisture, crunch and freshness and provide a wonderful foil for heavy, rich ingredients. They are, however, almost entirely water, and thus over extended periods are prone to wilting and, worse, making bread soggy. Luckily there are plenty of vegetables that offer all the benefits of lettuce and tomato without the drawbacks. In place of sliced tomatoes, for instance, give roasted peppers a try. (It helps if you first blot the peppers dry with a paper towel). Instead of lettuce, experiment with other vegetables like:

  • Sliced fennel,
  • Spinach,
  • Shredded cabbage, or
  • Cucumber.

4. Stave Off Sogginess

Spread mayo, butter or cream cheese all the way to the edges of each slice of bread to create a seal against wet sandwich fillings. Also, try packing high moisture ingredients, like tomatoes, pickles, and cucumbers, separately. Just add them to the sandwich when you’re ready to eat. Toasting the bread can help, too.

5. Take the Edge Off Onions

Onions can give sandwiches a welcome bite but often must be tamed a bit to be enjoyed raw. There are two effective ways to take some of the edge off sliced onions: Either soak thinly sliced onions in ice water for 20 minutes or so. Then drain and blot dry. (This method adds crispness.) Or toss sliced onions with a generous sprinkling of kosher salt. Wait a few minutes. Rub salt into the onions, rinse, drain.

I learned the history of the sandwich from a Sesame Street interlude. Food historians generally attribute the creation of the sandwich to John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. This Englishman was said to have been fond of gambling. As the story goes, in 1762, during a 24-hour gambling streak he instructed a cook to prepare his food in such a way that it would not interfere with his game. The cook presented him with sliced meat between two pieces of toast. Perfect! This meal required no utensils and could be eaten with one hand, leaving the other free to continue the game. Who knew?!

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Happy Sandwich Making!


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