November 3rd is National Sandwich Day (August is National Sandwich Month).

Since grandma’s day, the American sandwich has evolved from meat, cheese or fish, on bread or a roll, with a schmear of mustard or mayo, to…anything goes.

Here’s what some of America’s chefs are doing with sandwich spreads, courtesy of Flavor And The Menu, a magazine that keeps chefs up-to-date on what their colleagues are doing nationwide.

But first:

  • The History Of The Sandwich
  • Sandwich Glossary: The Different Types Of Sandwiches
  • SANDWICH SPREADS: 10 FLAVOR UPGRADES

    “Condiments, spreads and dressings are the hidden heroes of today’s sandwich innovation,” begins the article.

    If your favorite sandwich condiment is mustard or mayonnaise, it’s time for a flavor upgrade.

    AÏOLI & OTHER FLAVORED MAYONNAISE (Photos #1 and #4)

    Mayonnaise is a favorite condiment. In France, it takes the form of aïoli, garlic mayonnaise.

    The past two decades have seen an explosion of flavors: bacon, basil, cayenne, chipotle, curry, horseradish and down through the alphabet, ending with wasabi. You can buy them or make them, by adding your flavor of choice to regular mayonnaise.

    Chef examples:

  • Woodrow’s Whiz Wit: shaved ribeye, truffle whiz, caramelized onion, cherry pepper mayo, at Woodrow’s Sandwich Shop in Philadelphia.
  • BBLT: Double bacon, lettuce and tomato with black pepper balsamic mayo on toasted sourdough, at Penelope in New York.
  • Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich: red chile buttermilk, lime kimchi slaw, gochujang aïoli, at Keoki’s Paradise, Koloa, Hawaii.
  • Try these ideas:

  • Mix olives, capers, pickles, sun-dried tomatoes, specialty mustard, balsamic, or another full-flavored ingredient into mayo or aïoli for an easy flavor fix.
  • Explore mayonnaise-based sauces like rémoulade, gribiche (chopped hard-boiled egg yolks emulsified into oil), or Louis sauce (heavy cream, chile sauce, minced onion and bell pepper, Worcestershire, garlic, and lemon juice and zest).
  • CHUTNEY (Photo #2)

    India’s spiced condiments boost flavor in sweet (fruit) or savory (herb or vegetable) variations.

    Chef examples:

  • Paneer Kathi Wrap: paneer cheese with red and green peppers and mint chutney at Chauhan Ale & Masala House in Nashville. (A kathi or kati wrap is made from paratha bread.)
  • Chutney Chicken Salad Sandwich: chicken breast, celery, peanuts and mango chutney on a fresh poppyseed roll with mayo, cucumber slices, shredded carrots, tomatoes and lettuce at Uptown Cafe and Catering in Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Ham or turkey with mango chutney, roast beef with coriander chutney, at The Nibble offices in New York City.
  • Try this idea:

  • Make your own chutney using seasonal fruits and vegetables. It can become your signature condiment, and you can make extra for gifts.
  • CLASSIC SAUCES

    The classic French mother sauces and secondary sauces can be ported to sandwiches—especially warmed.

    Chef examples:

  • Le Royale Burger: with cheese, foie gras, Bordelaise sauce, Gruyère melt, onion confit and black truffle at Pubbelly Noodle Bar in Miami Beach.
  • Shaved Roast Beef: sauce Béarnaise and fried onions at DoveCote Brasserie in Orlando, Florida.
  • Try these ideas:

  • Variations: A mother sauce like béchamel can be endlessly varied to suit a sandwich’s other ingredients. Vary the basic recipe with cheese, sautéed mushrooms, onions, mustard, etc.
  • Warm sauce: Using a warm or hot sauce on a cold or room-temperature sandwich adds the element of contrasting temperatures.
  • GLOBAL SAUCES (Photo #3)

    Is there an area of the world that hasn’t sent its condiments and spices to the U.S.?

    From a gochujang-spiked mayo to curry ketchup, globally flavored condiments add a touch of the exotic to the familiar sandwich.

    Chef examples:

  • Harissa Grilled Chicken Sandwich: grilled chicken breast with slightly spicy harissa aïoli and Swiss cheese, on a housemade bun with lettuce, onion and pickles, at The Farm Bistro in, Cortez, Colorado.
  • Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken: Sandwich with sharp cheddar, tomato and kimchi aïoli, at Wardon Hall in South Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Bacon, Egg and Harissa Sandwich: with harissa aïoli, at 112 Eatery in Minneapolis
  • Try these ideas:

  • Romesco, a Spanish sauce of nuts and red peppers, adds color and flavor to vegetarian, fish and chicken sandwiches.
  • Toss chicken salad in nam pla-(Thai fish sauce)-spiked mayonnaise, for an umami-laced Asian twist.
  • JAM (Photo #5)

    Sweet and savory jams are right at home on a sandwich.

    Chef examples:

  • Morning, Noon & Night Melt: bacon, ham, two fried eggs, apricot-bacon jam and American cheese on sourdough, at Kings in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
  • The European: sharp cheddar, arugula and blueberry-tarragon jam on baguette, at Succotash, Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Try these ideas:

      Flavored Mayonnaise
    [1] Three flavored mayos: garlic aoili, harissa and Dijon, from Chef Eric Levine.

    Tomato Chutney
    [2] Try chutney, sweet or savory, as a sandwich spread. Here’s the recipe for this tomato chutney from NDTV.

    Romesco Burger - Morningstar Vegetarian
    [3] Burger with romesco sauce, from Morningstar Farms.

    Grilled Pineapple BLT
    [4] A grilled pineapple BLT with sriracha mayo, at Half Baked Harvest.

    Blueberry Jam
    [5] Jam as a touch of sweetness to a sandwich, and there are so many different pairings (photo courtesy Lexi’s Clean Kitchen).

    Basil Pesto
    [6] The classic pasta sauce also works as a sandwich spread. Use a chunkier style (less dripping with olive oil—photo Looby | IST).

  • Spread marmalade, with its bitter edge of citrus peel, on hearty meat-based sandwiches, such as brisket or ham.
  • Experiment with seasonal fruits in jams, jellies, and other preserves, from rhubarb and strawberry in the spring to pears, quince and apples in the fall.
  •  
    PESTO (Photo #6)

    This familiar pasta sauce can be made in many ways—changing the herb, nuts and cheese—to suit any sandwich.

    Chef examples:

  • Caprese: fresh mozzarella, roasted tomato, kale pesto, balsamic reduction at Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, multiple locations in Boston area.
  • Chelsea Lo-Cal: two eggs, turkey bacon, roasted red peppers, broccoli rabe, Greek yogurt and walnut pesto sauce on multi-grain toast, at BEC in New York.
  • Try these ideas:

  • Make pesto with different herbs—cilantro, parsley, tarragon—or vegetables such as spinach, arugula, kale, celery leaves, roasted red pepper, zucchini or pumpkin purée.
  • Fold pesto into mayonnaise, softened butter, cream or other fresh cheese, hummus or another sandwich spread.
  •  

    Blue Cheese Dressing

    [6] Blue cheese dressing: great on burgers and many sandwiches (photo ©Picture-Perfect Meals).

    Tahini Sauce
    [7] Tahini sauce, thick and spreadable (it’s diluted to make a sauce—photo Fotographica Basica | IST).

    Green Olive Tapenade
    [8] Blue cheese dressing: great on burgers and many sandwiches (photo ©Picture-Perfect Meals).

     

    SALAD DRESSING (Photo #6)

    Using salad dressing on a sandwich is not a new idea: Think Reuben and Russian dressing.

    Chef ideas:

  • Blackened Haloumi Sandwich: spicy Cajun-blackened grilled haloumi on a telera roll with fresh spinach, cucumbers and blue cheese dressing, at Seva in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Green Goddess Chicken Sandwich: grilled chicken with green goddess dressing, at Willy Street Co-op in Madison and Middletown, Wisconsin.
  • Try these ideas:

  • Substitute plain or flavored ranch dressing for the mayonnaise in egg, tuna or chicken salad sandwiches.
  • Use ginger-miso dressing in a vegetable wrap sandwich for an Asian twist.
  • TAHINI (Photo #7)

    This smooth condiment and sauce is made from ground sesame seeds. It is a key ingredient in hummus, baba ghanouj and halvah, but it’s also coming into its own as a sandwich spread.

    Chef examples:

  • Shawarma Bomb: chicken, sriracha sauce, jalapeño, pickle, tomato, onion and tahini sauce at Hummus Café in Morrisville, North Carolina.
  • Steak Sandwich: Prime cuts of tender seasoned steak wrapped in a pita with tahini, at Jerusalem in Denver.
  • Try these ideas:

  • Boost the flavor of tahini—and turn it into a colorful green shade—with the addition of chopped herbs such as parsley, dill, chives, cilantro and/or mint.
  • For a snack and for kids, make an open-face pita, tahini and sliced-apple sandwich on multigrain bread with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
  • TAPENADE (Photo #8)

    Tapenade is a Provençal specialty made from puréed or finely chopped olives, capers and olive oil. It hits all the right flavor notes, and works with a broad selection of sandwich ingredients.

    Chef examples:

  • Turkey Tapenade: olive tapenade, avocado, tomatoes, pesto aïoli and bibb lettuce at Parlor 1255 in San Francisco.
  • T.L.C.: cucumber steaks, roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts, red onion, spinach and olive tapenade, served on toasted pumpernickel at The Brown Bag Delicatessen in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Try these ideas:

  • Boost the flavor of vegetarian sandwiches—grilled vegetable, portobello mushroom, falafel, or goat cheese, tomato and cucumber—with a schmear of tapenade.
  • Make the olive mixture more interesting with the addition of artichoke hearts, sun-dried or oven-roasted tomatoes, dried figs or currants or chopped nuts. You can also spice it up with chili flakes or harissa.
  •  
    YOGURT

    This tangy, good-for-you ingredient has long been served as tzatziki (with chopped cucumber and mint), in gyro shops. Thankfully, it has traveled further.

    Chef examples:

  • Turkey Gyro LTO: thinly-sliced roast turkey, lettuce, onions and tomatoes with tzatziki sauce and traditional gyro seasonings on soft pita, at Arby’s, all locations.
  • Spinach Falafel Shawarma: with beet tzatziki, arugula and pickles at Sofra Bakery & Cafe in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Todd: smoked Portuguese pancetta, seasonal lettuce, tomato and honey Dijon yogurt sauce at City Sandwich in New York.
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich, or ham, turkey, or roast beef with tzatziki, at The Nibble offices in New York City.
  • Try these ideas:

  • Flavor yogurt with garlic, Parmesan, basil and hot pepper or with avocado, ginger, soy and wasabi to dress chicken, fish or vegetable-filled sandwiches.
  • Greek yogurt is extra thick, extra flavorful, and can be a condiment or sauce plain or with added garlic and/or herbs.
  • Strut your sandwich!

      


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