Archive for the ‘ Sandwich ’ Category


Summer time means basil, and basil means pesto.  But this isn’t a recipe for pesto –  I make mine different every time – no, this is a recipe that takes pesto and makes it something more, something special.  How do you make pesto, already chock full of robust herbiness and garlic, better? Two words: goat cheese.   Think of this humble sandwich as a stage. If the grilled chicken, marinated in garlic and Italian herbs, is the lead, the pesto goat cheese spread is the supporting role who steals the show.  The chicken we clap for; the spread gets a standing ovation.

Metaphors aside, this is a solid summer sandwich, just right for a weekend lunch or casual weeknight dinner and fairly easy to make, too. Even the harshest critics, are sure to give it rave reviews.

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If you haven’t tried Vietnamese banh mi by now, you’ve been missing out on a truly remarkable sandwich. At once exotic, but at the same time decidedly familiar, these guys are unlike anything in the American lunchtime lineup.  No cheese or mustard here, just the perfect marriage of sour, salty and savory Vietnamese flavors on a sweet, light-as-air, French baguette all harmoniously coming together in one killer snack.

Topped with crunchy pickled carrots and daikon, cool sliced cucumber, aromatic cilantro and spicy chilies, a good banh mi is a melange of flavors and textures. Not unlike a BLT, banh mi are salty, crunchy and juicy with a nice counterpoint of warm meats. Packed with savory roast pork or my version with grilled five-spice chicken shown above, the real beauty of this sandwich is its variety of delicious proteins.  From grilled lemongrass beef or sardine, to the deli combo loaded with roast pork, mortadella and paté there are plenty of options out there to satisfy any hankering. Here in San Francisco, Saigon Sandwich on Larkin Street is home to some of the finest banh mi around.  At $3.50 apiece, I defy you to find a better quality, more filling sandwich for cheaper anywhere in the city.  This is the Asian sandwich.

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Like roast beef, I’ll sometime make meatloaf just for the sandwiches.  Funny, considering I wouldn’t touch them as a kid.  I’m not sure if it was a texture thing or the idea of eating a ‘loaf’ in between two pieces of bread that threw me off, but whatever it was, I made sure they never ended up in my lunch bag.  These days, however, leftover meatloaf is a godsend and something that rarely lasts more than a day in our fridge. You see, as good as meatloaf is straight from the oven, something magical seems to take place after an overnight rest in the cold.  Not only do the savory flavors concentrate, but the consistency of the loaf changes as well, firming up a bit for easy sandwich slicing.  Served warm or cold, a good meatloaf sandwich seems to hit all the right notes.  You don’t need a recipe for a meatloaf sandwich, just the inspiration to make one.

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To round out my week of Middle Eastern cuisine, I present to you a vehicle for all those tasty homemade recipes — the falafel sandwich.  This is the kind of sandwich that makes me feel like maybe, just maybe, I could be a vegetarian.  Afterall, with a sandwich as filling and flavorful as this one, who needs meat?  With mixed baby greens, crunchy cabbage and carrots, this version is everything but authentic.

Admittedly, I don’t typically order the falafel sandwich — I prefer a loaded schawerma wrap most days — but that’s because most places serve their sandwiches with some wilted iceberg lettuce, chunks of flavorless tomatoes and the withered tennis balls they call falafel. As it turns out a good falafel sandwich is its own kind of wonderful, and as is the case with many things, all the much better when you’re the one deciding what goes into it.

I knew I wanted something a bit brighter than usual; something that included textures and flavors that would enhance the soft, savory falafel. The combination listed below promises balanced bites — the pepper and pickled turnips add a tangy kick, the cabbage and carrots the right kind of crunch and the tahini sauce and baba ganoush are creamy and bold without overwhelming the flavor of the falafels themselves — but feel free to throw in tomato, eggplant, Middle Eastern pickles or any other additions you think would be good. And if you come up with an inspired combination, don’t forget to share your secrets in the comments.

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I spent the weekend barbecuing in the rain.  Sure, Winter might not be the best time to break out the Webber and smoke some meat, but having lived in a San Francisco apartment without access to a yard for a couple of years, I’ll take any opportunity I can get.  I spent the past few days away at my parents vacation home in Sea Ranch, and despite Mother Nature’s best efforts to keep me cooped up inside, I decided to brave the elements and experiment with an old recipe that I’ve been meaning to try for a while now.

When it comes to barbecue, for me, it doesn’t get much tastier than a good pulled pork sandwich topped with a tangy, vinegary coleslaw.  I’ll order them whenever and wherever.  In fact, on a business trip to North Carolina, I spent nearly $40.00 on a round trip taxi to a local BBQ joint claiming to have the best pulled pork in all of The Carolinas.  However, having spent so much time dedicated to finding the ultimate pulled pork sandwich, it recently donned on me that I’d been neglecting another hallmark barbecue staple — the BBQ Beef Sandwich.

Now, what you see above is by no means authentic or traditional in any way, shape or form.  This recipe is an adaptation of one from America’s Test Kitchen’s, Cook’s Country for a knock-off, quick riff on the beef-centric barbecue of Texas.  Knowing that I’d be missing the slaw found on its pulled pork cousin, I decided to whip up a batch of creamy coleslaw studded with rich blue cheese – one of beef’s best friends – as a crunchy condiment.  Placed atop some fluffy brioche hamburger buns I found at the local market, I was left with a sandwich that was instantly catapulted into the ranks of some of the best I’ve ever made.  Smoky, saucy and beefy, these sandwiches pack huge flavor.  This recipe is great for a crowd and can be prepared well in advance of service once you have the smoking out of the way.

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