Sandwiches are the easiest things to make for a meal when you have a whole bunch of ingredients that pair up in vague combinations and you’re not inspired enough to create a full-fledged dish. All you need is bread, a central dry to semi-dry element, and a creamy element to act as a backup to that, et voila!
I don’t plan sandwiches, not really. Sometimes we make a filling with mashed boiled potato and crumbled paneer, mixed and spiced, and leave it in the fridge to use over the week as a quick go-to filling for breakfasts. Otherwise, on Sundays, we’ll make one box of mint chutney and/or hummus and leave that in the fridge to use with pretty much anything. This acts as the creamy element in the sandwich. If neither are there, a quick spread can be made with beaten curd mixed with spices, or if a filling is being used, just butter will do. Sandwiches are more breakfast foods at home on working days, so the central element tends to be whatever curry is on hand that day, most often something related to potatoes. Else it’s pre-prepared filling or freshly cut tomatoes if I’m really uninspired.
Hey, it does the job.
As for bread, we usually have one or two loaves of brown or multi-grain. I prefer brown, but I’m not fussy. Oh, and I don’t cut crusts or throw away the two ends of a loaf. That’s just wasteful.
As for methods of cooking sandwiches, there are three on hand. Mind you, I’m referring to hot sandwiches. I don’t usually go for cold sandwiches, though they have their appeal in certain contexts. Anyhoo, these are:
- Using A Toaster: This is the easiest of the lot and I mostly toast if I’m making something ordinary like PB&J, or if the filling is something that won’t spill out. I’m not overly fond of toasting as it sucks the moisture out of the bread, but if you’re in a hurry and it doesn’t matter, it’s fine. Also, I’m aware that the stuff that comes out of the toaster in my case isn’t toast and is more along the lines of warm bread, so hush.
- Using a Sandwich Maker/Jaffle Iron/Whatever you call it: Good to use if you want to cook the sandwich through. You just have to take care with the pre-heating, greasing it up well with butter, and letting it cook long enough. Most sandwich makers come with three kinds of irons: one triangular one for standard sandwiches, one grill-like one, and one for waffles. I once made a sandwich with the waffle one. My friend and I are still arguing over whether bread cooked in a waffle maker is called a ‘baffle’ or a ‘braffle’.
- Using a Shallow Cooking Pan/Tawa: This one’s my favorite. Not only does it cook the sandwich through, but you have better control on just how well you cook it. I took on a specific method of making hot sandwiches after watching the grilled cheese scene in the movie Chef. Heat the pan till the air above it steams, and lower the flame. Spread butter over the hot pan, let it sizzle for a second. Then, take the two pieces of bread, one with the spread and the other with the spread and filling, and put them both on the pan. Let them soak up the butter and cook for 10-15 seconds. Then, using a spatula, take the cooked bread with the spread and place it flat over the other one, completing the sandwich. Spread some more butter int he empty space and cook the sandwich in that, turning it over and over and pressing down with the spatula until both sides are golden brown and crisp. This ensures that not only is it cooked and crisp, the bread is also still malleable enough to slice clean in half without a crumb shower.
So that’s my sandwich method. This food series is almost done, just one last one to go.