what’s for lunch?

Katie was away today so I made myself a sandwich for lunch. Sort of.

Actually I make lettuce wraps these days, since it helps control my blood sugar. But I have reoccurring fantasies about my favorite sandwiches.

I’ve been thinking about this because I saw a banner at Meijer’s yesterday that says “it’s not just thinly sliced deli meat, it’s the beginning of a perfect sandwich.”

Of course a perfect sandwich doesn’t involve deli meat at all. And just so you know, it doesn’t involve butter either. All great sandwiches involve mayonnaise. Let’s be clear about that.

But here, in no particular order, are my nominations for the perfect sandwich:

Fried egg.

Yes, fried egg, with variations on the theme. Mine is basically a BLT with a fried egg, but you have to start with good, lean, thick bacon.

After you slather some mayo on some toasted sour dough bread you put down a piece of romaine lettuce, a sandwich-sized dill pickle slice, a layer of mild, semi-hard cheese (I favor Jarlsberg), three or four pieces of bacon and the egg.

The egg is not just added to the sandwich. It is the sandwich, fried in the grease from the bacon, with a broken yolk, but not quite firm. A slice of tomato is great. Make sure you put mayo on the top piece of bread too.

(The best egg sandwich in film, by the way, is about two thirds of the way through Spanglish. You can see the video where world class chef Thomas Keller shows Adam Sandler how to make it on You-tube. And just so you know, I was putting fried eggs on my BLT’s long before the movie.)

This may be the messiest sandwich you ever eat. Barely a carb in it when you do it my way, between two pieces of romaine lettuce. But I’m pretty sure the fat is good for you.

Pimento cheese

This Southern classic is one of life’s simple pleasures, often mocked and seldom praised. But it has started showing up in high-end restaurants.

My every day version is simple. I put two bags of sharp, shredded cheddar in a bowl with a large jar of pimentos, a cup or more of mayonnaise, and a big, heaping tablespoon of horse radish sauce. Mix it all up and you’re done.

It is served on the least nutritious white bread you can find, with the crust cut off just in case someone is trying to slip you some vitamins or something in on you. In my case, celery works just fine, although I do use Wasa crispbread some times. Open face.

My company version includes cream cheese (see the recipe on Forkinit), as do most high concept versions that use fresh roasted red peppers chopped fine instead of the canned version. At the Van Horn Sandwich shop in Brooklyn, New York, they serve a BLP (bacon, lettuce and pimento) sandwich, which proves you can experience heaven on earth.

Cuban sandwich

Photo by Jason L., on Yelp
And if not on earth, perhaps in Cuba where I hope to have a Cuban Sandwich before I die. Actually I may have to wait for heaven on this one, since it is kind of hard to do on a leaf of lettuce.

This is sort of the original Panini, made of grilled, hard-crusted bread, stuffed with ham, pork, Swiss cheese and sliced pickle. Yes, mayo. And a little mustard.

Although I grew up with the South Florida version, my favorite Cuban sandwich comes from a little lunch counter just off Times Square called Margon. If you go there, eat there. It’s only open for lunch and it will be the best six bucks you ever spent in your life

So that’s my nominations for the perfect sandwich.

What’s yours?

12 thoughts on “what’s for lunch?”

  1. A 2/3 pound hamburger, not the best grade of meat so there is enough fat in it to drip down my chin when I eat it. Sesame seed bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, and dill pickle, with green olives on the side and an ice cold can of Coke Classic to drink and a mound of frenchfries. Rich, red watermellon with salt on it for dessert. Now, that’s good eatin’

  2. 1. Heavy, still-warm-from-the-garden tomato sliced thick. On bread that has little redeeming value– slathered in mayonnaise. Sometimes I get crazy and add a leaf of lettuce. Oy.

    2. My MIL’s BTs– she skips the lettuce and broils them so that the mayo gets all hot and gooey with the crisp, thin bacon (several slices) and tomato slabs. It’s a messy sandwich but delicious.

    3. Wally’s Pimento Cheese.

    4. Tuna salad or chicken salad– put in the toaster oven on bread, open faced, with a smattering of sharp, sharp cheddar on top. The cheese gets all melty and delicious. (I ate the chicken version at least three times a week while I was “waiting” for Jack.)

    5. The Cuban sandwiches at Alessi bakery in Tampa, Florida.

    6. A proper toasted cheese sandwich– perfect, thin bread. Sharp cheddar cheese.

    7. Croque Monsieur with good gruyere.

    8. The “Gringo” from Andy’s Pizza.

    Oy. Now I’m hungry. The ghost of my protein shake is mocking me.

  3. I have to “control my blood sugar” too. I think it’s some kind of medical conspiracy! There are just so many things that one has to control about the body before we begin to consider if it’s really worth the effort. The Cuban sandwich was invented in heaven by the God’s, in my opinion.

  4. Wow Wally! I just got a very detailed image of you with your apron starring in your own show on the food network. lol

    My favorite sandwich is my own version of McDonald’s Southern Style Chicken Sandwich. It involves mayo too. And a chicken breast seasoned to make your eyes water. Fresh tomato slices, romaine lettuce, and Amish made Munster cheese. Served on an onion role. Mmm.

    What? Did you think I was gonna post my secret recipe for Eggplant sandwiches? 🙂

  5. It’s barely a sandwich, but since I’ve been diagnosed with a mild peanut allergy (I can have it sometimes, but I have to be really careful), I crave PB&J sandwiches (I eat them on pita bread).

    My favorites are Gyros, and the similar, but far spicier and yummier, Kebab sandwiches I found in little Lebanese shops in Italy.

    I also love grilled cheese made with butter sauteed onions and either Munster or brick cheese on pita.

    It’s seems my perfect sandwiches begin with pita.

  6. #1 Bah mi Vietnamese sandwich I had them for lunch twice a week when I taught in Chinatown they have roast pork belly, pate, pickled carrot and daikon cucumber, chilies, cilantro and mayo on a crusty baguette!
    #2 “the mighty angus” it was a roast beef sandwich on chibata bread with arugula, goat cheese and garlic aoli. The sandwich shop went out of business but that sandwich was awesome!
    #3 Mufallatta from central grocery in New Orleans
    #4 Ruben. corned beef, marble rye, thousand island ementhaler swiss, and kraut. The best I ever had was at DeLeo’s deli in Estes Park, CO Denis can vouch for this sandwich.

  7. A few weeks ago, mom and I had lobster rolls at Pearl Oyster Bar in Greenwich Village. I’ve rarely had something more delicious pass through my lips. Mmmm.

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