Tuesday, July 19, 2016

4 Ways to Take Sandwiches to the Next Level

Sandwiches are classic and some of the easiest foods to make. They're popular with nearly everyone and even most children. You can even make sandwiches the center point of a meal for an easy and inexpensive dinner. With a few extra tricks, you can take your sandwiches to new heights with gourmet flavor combinations. You'll have a quick and simple meal that's perfect for a family supper or casual dinner party.

1. Grill It!
A hot sandwich is a completely different taste experience than a cold sandwich, even if both have the same ingredients. Grilling your sandwich gives the outside of the bread a new depth of flavor from caramelization and melts the cheese into a gooey texture. The flavorings of the meats, veggies and condiments taste brighter and fresher when warmed. There are several methods for grilling sandwiches: panini press, outdoor grill, griddle pan, or oven. You can experiment to determine which method you like best. Be sure to coat your bread with oil or butter to prevent excess charring.

2. Use Seasonal Ingredients
As with any dish, a sandwich is going to taste better with fresher ingredients. Planning your ingredients around what is available seasonally not only ensures your sandwich will taste great, but also helps keep the cost down. If you can't find many seasonal ingredients in the winter, you can use high-quality canned goods such as marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers. In the summer and fall, you can find inspiration for your sandwiches at your local farmer's market by browsing through the fresh produce available.

3. Choose the Best Bread
As important as the sandwich fillings are, using the right bread is imperative. Choosing artisan bread or a nice roll can make your sandwich feel like a restaurant meal. You can choose the bread based on the sandwich fillings, if you like. For example, choose ciabatta for a sandwich with Mediterranean flavors or use a baguette with French fillings. You can also use a rich bread such as brioche to give your sandwich a slightly sweet flavor and to offset other textures. Rolls are a good choice too, as they are easy to hold and sturdy even with excess filling.

4. Slather on the Spreads
The condiments in your sandwich are just as important as the meats, cheeses and vegetables. They add an extra kick of flavor and keep the texture of the bread moist. Flavored mayo is a good option for most sandwiches, and it's important to choose a taste that complements the other ingredients. Hampton Creek offers several choices of their healthy, egg-free mayo. Oil and vinegar together are another nice touch, especially with rich meats and cheeses as the vinegar will provide balance. Mustard adds spice, and there are several types to choose from such as Dijon or flavored options.

Sandwiches aren't just limited to peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese. With the right bread, fillings and seasonings, they can be the centerpiece of gourmet meals. Experimenting with unique flavor combinations can give your recipe collection several new additions that are quick and simple to make. Grilling or pressing a sandwich can add a new level of flavor and texture. Rich and flavorful spreads not only provide additional seasonings but can serve as the finishing touch to draw all the flavors and textures together.

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