Cook’s CornerJuly 5, 2018
Here’s a hack for easy summer sandwiches
It’s counterintuitive but it may well be the best way to make a sandwich is to ditch the bread. Sure. The Earl of Sandwich and all that. But history is an arbitrary arbiter of what’s de rigueur in food preference.
From what I can tell, a sandwich is merely a filling, usually with protein, and something compatible to place around it so you can eat the filling with your hands. When done right, a sandwich saves dishes and their cleanup, allows for flexibility and mobility for stuffing your stomach on the run, and there are very few, if any, etiquette rules that, oh my dear, must be followed in the making and eating of a sandwich.
I exclude the brunch and tea sandwiches from that last. Etiquette very clearly rules any sandwiches where bone china, linen napkins, and stemware are in service.
With that in mind, hack your way out of the worry accompanying traditional sandwiches: whole wheat or white, thick or thin, toast or grill, trim crusts or no, and chuck the bread entirely. Concentrate on putting together a hearty filling and put that filling into a pita pocket or tortilla wrap around.
There’s even a gluten-free alternative with crisp and sturdy lettuce standing in for bread. Be a bit careful handling the lettuce stand-in while walking, but wrap your hand(s) around the other bread substitutes and you’re good to go to the picnic, the lunch at your desk or in the park, your backyard swing or just at the table noshing with family and friends.
Adapted from delish.com
1/2 C red grapes, rinsed and dried
1/2 C apple chunks, from pre-washed apples
1/2 C celery chopped into small pieces
4 tbsp. mayonnaise
4 tbsp. plain yogurt
4 pita pockets
8 large lettuce leaves, washed and dried
1 lb. left-over roast turkey breast or deli turkey breast, sliced thin to medium
Mix the fruit, celery, mayonnaise and yogurt in medium bowl until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until you’re ready to prepare your lunch.
Line each pita half with a lettuce leaf and several slices of turkey. Stuff with a scoop of chilled fruit mixture. Wrap each pocket individually in plastic wrap or foil if not serving right away. Makes four wraps.
Note: You may use a creamy salad dressing such as ranch or bleu cheese to substitute for the mayonnaise. Also, try adding glazed walnut pieces or almond slices to the Waldorf for extra taste. And if turkey is not your thing, a Waldorf is just as good with chicken.
Tip: Other than to remove blemishes, there is no need to peel the apples. Leaving the peel on adds fiber and additional nutrients.
How a Caesar salad becomes a sandwich
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C Caesar dressing, plus more for garnish
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
Juice of 1 lemon, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
9 leaves romaine or butterhead lettuce, to use as cups
1/2 C quartered cherry tomatoes
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 C freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish
Chopped celery, optional
In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the dressing, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and half of lemon juice. Season generously with salt and pepper, cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining oil. Add chicken breasts to the skillet and cook until golden and no longer pink, about 8 minutes per side. Remove from heat, let rest 5 minutes, then cut into bite sized pieces.
To put together the lettuce wraps: Fill each lettuce cup with chicken pieces, tomatoes, celery (if using) and bacon. Top with a squeeze of lemon, more dressing, Parmesan, and a couple extra twists of black pepper. Fold the lettuce over the filling like a wrap. Serves four.
A fresh take on an ordinary sandwich
4 flavored or plain flour tortillas, about 7 to 8 inches each
1/4 C Thousand Island dressing
1/4 C bacon; cooked, crumbled
8 large spinach or lettuce leaves
1 C, about 4 oz, shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 slices, 1 oz each, left-over or deli turkey
4 slices, 1 oz each left-over or deli ham
Spread each tortilla evenly with 1 tablespoon dressing; sprinkle with bacon. Top with spinach leaves, finely shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese, 1 turkey slice, and 1 ham slice. Roll up tortillas and secure with toothpicks or wrap in foil. Serves four.
Note: Change it up! Use Italian meats and dressing, or olive oil and Italian seasonings, with green or black olives, thinly-sliced onions, and sliced grape tomatoes. Replace the cheddar with Asiago or other of your favorite hard cheeses. Call it a “tortilla Italia”!
Tip: These tasty wraps will become appetizers or canapes if cut crosswise into two-bite pieces.
By Jean Redstone