On Monday evening, a college friend of Corrin’s joined us for a rousing evening of Ratatouille (which he gamely helped to prepare) and Pandemic (our new favorite board game). While stirring the eggplant-onion-pepper-squash-garlic-and-tomato mixture, Toby let on that he “didn’t cook much”, which started a long conversation about peanut butter toast and sandwiches. His eyes grew big and awed as Corrin described the lunch sandwiches she makes for us each day, so I promised to write-up a step-by-step guide. Bon appétit, Toby!
This week’s sandwiches consist of hummous, spinach, roasted red peppers, cornichon, and lemon-pepper chicken on whole wheat sourdough. That sounds really impressive until you realize that every part of the sandwich is pre-made by someone else, at which point it becomes just smart shopping at a decent grocery store.
- On your shopping trip, pick out a hefty loaf of sandwich bread, a bunch of spinach or salad greens, and a flavorful deli meat or two (ask the person behind the counter to point out the least processed options). Then head over to the olive bar and prepared foods section; pick up a container of hummous (roasted garlic-infused hummous is fabulous, but we sadly avoid it to spare colleagues and clients from pungent afternoons), and an assortment of dressing items. Roasted red peppers, marinated mushrooms, Greek olives, and cornichons or other spicy pickles are among our favorite choices.
- Place your sandwich fixings on the counter, and get to work building a concoction. With quality ingredients, you can’t really go wrong; if you want to play it safe, keep sweets with other sweets and savories with other savories.When Corrin prepares our lunches, she usually spreads hummous on both pieces of bread, then on one side places the peppers, pickles, spinach, and meats, then tops it with the other slice of bread. We’ve found that this keeps our sandwiches from falling apart in lunch boxes (particularly if they’re tightly wrapped), but experiment and find what works for you.
Some other tips:
- Toasting your bread makes it stand up to moist ingredients over time.
- Hummous is light and mild compared to mayonnaise or mustard; apply it generously to your bread to hold small pieces in place. It also adds heartiness and extra protein. (Becky, consider that an advance tip for ten years from now, when you have three adolescent boys in your kitchen!)
- Think about using this type of set-up with sweet ingredients, too: peanut butter, honey, strawberries, and banana are all yummy together, and some spicy arugula or mesclun mixed greens would add a bit of lunchtime crunch.