Many people might have the notion that building a sandwich is easy…and yes, it certainly can be. But not in the way that you might think. You have to consider the level of predetermined thought that goes into making a sandwich, whether you realize it or not.
Each component used in the making of a sandwich is completely intentional and revolves around your own preferences. It may seem like a menial task, but there are many different factors that can influence the final product. From what type of bread you use…the condiments that go on the bread…the type of meat you want, or no meat at all…the veggies to top it with—should they be cooked or raw…what type of cheese to use…how to season it properly…deciding whether or not the sandwich should be toasted…
You get the point.
Even something as simple as a PP&J carries these same fundamental barriers. Just think about it: White or wheat? Strawberry, raspberry, or grape? Chunky or smooth? More peanut butter or more jelly?
But these preferences are already programmed in your mind, which makes the action of preparing a sandwich seem almost trivial. You bought the white bread, the strawberry jam, and the smooth peanut butter…so you’re not standing in the kitchen thinking, “I want a smooth peanut butter and strawberry jelly white bread sandwich,” you’re just thinking, “I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” because the specifics of what you want have already been resolved.
That’s why I believe it can be difficult to order a sandwich at a café or restaurant. You are playing by somebody else’s rules; eating by somebody else’s preferences. Your decisions can no longer be generic and your options are narrowed.
For example, you can’t just walk in and say, “I’ll have a turkey sandwich.”
Their turkey sandwich might not be your idea of a turkey sandwich, which means you have to sit there and a figure out what they actually mean when they say ‘turkey sandwich.’ Once you find out what’s on it and how it’s made, you then have to decide whether or not you accept their version of a turkey sandwich. Either that or you’ll have to spend extra time explaining to the waiter (or waitress) how you want this turkey sandwich to be. Even then, the whole time you’re waiting for the food, you’re still wondering if they are going to get it right. By the time the sandwich arrives at the table, your guard is already up—it needs to be fully inspected before you start eating. If it passes, only then can you accept it enough to take the first bite in order to determine whether or not it tastes the way you want a turkey sandwich to taste.
What a headache.
It just goes to show that building a sandwich is much more than people give it credit for. Think about how hard it would be to come up with a sandwich to feature on a menu—one
that is enjoyed enough to get people talking. One that is familiar enough to make them feel at home but different enough to stand out against the competition. One that will keep them coming back over and over again.
It’s not as easy as it looks.
So in recognition of all those hard-working sandwich artists out there, I offer my Supreme Sausage Sandwiches for tonight’s dinner.
Let’s get cooking!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Italian sausage links
- Green bell pepper
- Mozzarella cheese (whole slices)
- Ciabatta rolls
- Fresh basil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
[Preheat the oven to 375 F]
To start things off, prepare the tomato, basil and mozzarella ‘stacks’ so that they have time to marinate.
Pour just enough balsamic on a plate to make a puddle.
Cut the tomato into four thick slices, place them in the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
Dip the slices of mozzarella.
Tear the basil leaves and spread over the tomatoes.
Finish the stack with the mozzarella on top.
Note: Put them in the fridge while prepping the rest of the ingredients.
Next, slice the bell pepper in half and spread flat on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes.
Slice the onion and set to the side for later.
Par-cook the sausages for 6-8 minutes.
Note: The water in the pot should be just under a boil. You do not want to boil them.
Cut the sausages in half and then half again so that they lay flat.
Fry the sausage halves for a couple of minutes on both sides. When they are done, place on a paper towel to absorb the extra grease.
Sauté the onions in the same pan for added flavor.
Take out the peppers and bake the ciabatta rolls for 5 minutes.
To build the sandwiches, start with Dijon and sausage.
Then add the onions and the bell pepper.
Top off with the marinated tomato, basil, and mozzarella stacks to finish.
Note: Make sure you drain the excess balsamic vinegar first.
There’s no end to the potential ingredients that can be placed between two pieces of bread. That’s why playing around with sandwich combinations is perhaps one of my favorite things to do. It’s fun, it’s creative, and it allows me to reach beyond the restrictions of a conventional meal. I like to think of it as an all-in-one package. You have your bread, your veggies, your meat, and your cheese…only they all have to work together in order to achieve the appropriate balance of flavors that will be represented in each bite.
At the end of the day, everyone has their own preferences. All I can say is, there’s a reason why these sausage sandwiches have earned the title Supreme.
Until next time, take care.