With summer nearly upon us it’s time for that most famous of British gastronomic creations to take centre stage: the sandwich.
Whilst the humble sarnie is a packed lunch staple throughout the year, there’s something about the warmer months that always makes me want to ramp up the way it’s served.
I’ll be the first to admit there’s not a great deal of skill involved in making a half decent sandwich – indeed, its versatility and convenience is what makes it such a winner.
And I’m not going to deny that the simplest, most well-known fillings are favourites for good reason – who doesn’t love a good cheese and pickle sarnie?
But the mistake many of us make is taking this great British institution for granted and failing to invest a little time and energy in to making it perfect. Slapping two flimsy slices of bread around whatever you’ve found lurking in the back of the fridge is never going to be a taste sensation.
With a little planning and choosing the right components, the sandwich should be a sumptuous blend of texture, colour and flavour. Whether it’s elegant, crustless fingers as part of afternoon tea, a platter of picnic triangles with assorted fillings or a hearty, crusty doorstop; a good sandwich should be the cornerstone to any summertime lunch.
While sarnies are essential picnic fodder, there are some versions which lend themselves more to lazy afternoons in the garden, or laidback weekend lunches with friends. Step forward The Club Sandwich.
If you only know one food history fact, it may be that we owe our love of bread-based snacks to the John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. An 18th century gambler, he’s credited with coming up with the sarnie as a convenient snack to be eaten at the gaming table.
The origins of the club sandwich spin-off are less clear but certainly we have our American friends to thank for – most likely the exclusive Saratoga Springs gambling club where it first appeared on the menu in the late 19th century.
There lots of variants on the club – turkey instead of chicken and the inclusion of ham or cheese. But for me, the traditional is the best, like this recipe here. Serve with fries, coleslaw and held together with skewers for the full experience.
|white bread, lightly toasted||3 slices|
|best quality mayonnaise||2tbsp|
|roasted chicken breast, thinly sliced||1|
|1/4-inch-thick slices beefsteak tomato||2|
|avocado, thinly sliced||1/2|
|bacon, cooked and crispy||4 slices|
|coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper||Pinch|
|iceberg lettuce leaves||2|
- Start by dividing the mayonnaise between the toasted bread slices. Arrange half the chicken, tomato, avocado and bacon onto one slice. Top with a second slice of bread and then add the remaining ingredients. Finish by closing with the third slice.
- Cut into two triangles and secure each with a wooden skewer. Serve immediately, ideally with chunky coleslaw and fries.