As a chef, I urge you to take ownership of your sandwich offerings. Don’t just reach into a box and put together a mainstream combination that gets slapped between two pieces of bread. Create a signature sandwich. Craft it and make it uniquely your own. Take a basic sandwich concept like a grilled cheese, Reuben, or club and make it better! For example, turn a BLT into a BBLT – add a layer of Canadian bacon and you’ve got a special sandwich that sets you apart from the competition.
Sandwiches have everything customers look for in a meal, such as familiar ingredients and flavors, and they can also be exciting and customized with a lot of personality. They are appropriate for full-service sit-downs as well as takeout, making them extremely versatile.
When it comes to sandwiches, you must start with great ingredients like artisan breads and cheeses, local produce and house-cured meats, and then embellish for maximum impact. With simple, fresh ideas, you can turn your everyday sandwiches into “we-need-to-go-there” sandwiches. It is our job as chefs and restaurateurs to deliver new, delicious foods that our customers crave. It’s no coincidence that according to the dictionary, delicatessen comes from the French word, délicatesse, which means “delicious things to eat.” The root word is the Latin adjective delicatus, meaning “giving pleasure, delightful, pleasing.”
Sometimes a small change can make a big difference. For example, make a house-made giardiniera. This quickly pickled, spicy Italian salad of mixed sliced vegetables is great as an accompaniment to a sandwich or even better as a topping, with a crunchy, acidic, and spicy flavor that improves almost everything it touches.
Or, think about how a fresh homemade pickle would complete your sandwich and bring it to the next level. Pickles are having a huge moment right now – we pickle both to preserve and enhance. Pickling is one of those magical preservation methods that not only extends a food’s shelf life but it also takes flavor profiles to interesting and delicious places. And don’t stop at cucumbers – pickling any vegetable that’s losing its crunch is surprisingly easy to do. If it fits into a jar, then it’s probably fit for pickling. With a little vinegar, salt, sugar, and select spices, you can transform aging veggies into a savory stand-alone snack or zesty ingredient to revive a tired recipe. From garlic-dill green beans to pickled eggplant with mint and garlic, there are options for every taste.