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Sandwich Sides

April 3, 2018

So yeah, it’s Passover. The only sandwiches I’ll be eating this week are matzo sandwiches. Just yesterday I had avocado matzo. It’s kind of like avocado toast, but on matzo. I made the best of it, topping the crushed fruit with a colorful and flavorful array of toppings.

Matzo isn’t bad per se. Especially as an occasional treat. But when it becomes a staple of your diet for an entire week, it becomes nearly unbearable by day six.

Today is the beginning of day four, which means we’re still in okay shape. Actually, I’m starting to ponder the idea of making sandwiches out of matzo brie. For those who don’t know, that’s like a matzo gallette. You take matzo, crumble it, soak it in water, drain it, and then combine that sodden slurry with beaten eggs and salt, before frying the whole thing in butter.

More than anything, I’m missing pasta, pizza, and beer. And if you suggest matzo pizza, I might just have to cut you.

Since this holiday is all about suffering, I might as well answer some sandwich related questions from last week’s post Angry About Sandwiches. It’s true, I do owe you all an Ask the Profussor, but those questions will have to wait.

Right now I’m about as passionate about sandwiches as I’ll ever be. So let’s begin.

Burnt My Fingers who came with me on the Tour de Italian Subs said:
I don’t see the Italian Mix Sub. Talk about a fail.

Three things. One, an Italian Mix Sub is not a standard thing. We learned that on the tour. Every place has a different mix of meats. There is not one universally agreed upon build. It’s different everywhere. Unlike the Reuben, which is always made from the same things. Two, while the Italian Mix may be the most cost effective option at Italian delis, I would disagree that it is the most delicious. Three, our list does contain the Muffuletta, which is pretty darn close.

Michelle doesn’t sound like a troll but it feels like she’s poking me with a stick:
Are you including open faced sandwiches? A bagel with lox is meant to be consumed open faced, so I am assuming OF is OK. If so, you have missed one of the best open faced sandwiches around-the pizza bagel.

An open faced sandwich is not a sandwich. While you raise a fair point about the founders’ intent of how a bagel with lox was meant to be eaten, today it’s not typically served in that classic form. As far as pizza bagels are concerned, they make me irrationally angry.

Dave has been on top of me lately, and that’s okay. I love it when he’s prickly:
I don’t like your list. Too many hot sandwiches. Cold sandwiches sing the true songs of the genre.

I don’t like my list either. Probably because it’s not my list. It’s an edited version of the Chowhound list. My question to you is, which hot sandwiches would you remove from their list, and what cold sandwiches would take their place?

Roger K. laid out a logical argument which I get, but I’m stymied by his premise:
If wraps aren’t sandwiches, then lobster rolls and meatball subs are certainly in question. However, Ruth Bader Ginsburg did declare that hot dogs are sandwiches.

Wraps come on tortillas, and typically, they aren’t properly steamed before assembly. That results in a dry, gummy, and unpleasant starchy vehicle for whatever filling lies within. What I fail to understand is how tortillas bear any resemblance to split sandwich rolls. Rolls are effectively mini loaves of bread, that for these sandwiches are sliced and filled. I agree with the RBG conclusion that the failure to slice them all the way through should not remove these food items from the category of sandwiches. But wraps are a different thing entirely.

Steve N. has a strong love for Chick-fil-A but I wonder if he’s been there for breakfast:
Fried chicken on a biscuit? Nope.
Chik-fil-A style chicken sandwich, yes.

Even Chick-fil-A serves chicken on a biscuit. Instead of hearing more from me on this sandwich, I’m going to let these three gentlemen sing its praises:

Dominic Colose suggests something that might require further inquiry:
I often take credit for inventing the Buffalo chicken sandwich c.1995

That’s a big claim. Maybe that would be worthy of a blog post on Chefsday so we could get more of the back story?

Bob W. was not convinced about my choice of deli style salads:
Egg salad stays but tuna salad goes?

Chicken salad goes too. In a list of just forty sandwiches, differentiation is key. There is only one grilled cheese, only one hamburger, only one barbecue, only one banh mi. So I limited it to only one deli salad. In the realm of mayonnaise based salads, nothing is more decadent than egg salad. It’s egg yolks mixed with more egg yolks. It’s like the eggs benedict of cold sandwiches. Which isn’t to say there aren’t shining examples of tuna salad. I would argue the pinnacle of tuna salad is the tuna melt. Which brings us to our old friend JMP.

Jessica Madeline Pasko weighs in from California with one of her favorite sandwiches:
Tuna melts forever.

I hear you, but it still has not place on this list. In fact this was one of the sandwiches which Chowhound had the original list and I removed. Because this is a list of sandwiches, and as we’ve said above—despite their misleading name—open faced sandwiches are not sandwiches.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob W. permalink
    April 3, 2018 11:45 am

    “In the realm of mayonnaise based salads, nothing is more decadent than egg salad.”

    None more decadent, perhaps, but accounting for texture/taste/simplicity . . . egg salad is vastly inferior to chicken salad and tuna salad. It’s not even close.

  2. April 3, 2018 9:19 pm

    Based on your objection to Italian Mix subs, grilled cheese sandwiches have to go as well. Both are solid and universally accepted foundations upon which the kitchen can build with a specific category of ingredients–“cheeses” for the one, “Italian-style charcuterie” for the other.

    As to the argument that the Italian mix is not the most delicious option at an Italian deli, I’ve generally found that not to be the case but it also refutes your previous argument. To make such a blanket statement, you have to stipulate that the Italian Mix is a clearly defined thing.

    And muffulettas and Italian Mixes are alike in the same way that lavash and matzo are alike. Both are flatbreads, right?

    • albanylandlord permalink
      April 4, 2018 1:40 am

      Nope. Grilled cheese is a well understood thing by itself, although you can also build upon it. Daniel’s point is that the Italian Mix is not a defined thing. :)

      • -R. permalink
        April 4, 2018 10:27 am

        I dunno. An Italian Mix is clearly a defined thing – a submarine sandwich containing sliced, cured “Italian-style” deli meats, such as capicola, salami, spiced hams, soppressata, etc and topped with shredded lettuce, tomato and perhaps a cheese such as provolone along with oil and vinegar. While you will find infinite preparation variations upon this class of sandwich, it seems clear that the fundamental base of the sandwich is fairly constant. You can’t have roast beef or turkey on an Italian Mix or it becomes something else.

        The Italian Mix is a Platonic form. It’s like green: we all know a green when we see it, but there are endless shades of it: tourmaline, lime, olive, hunter that are all loosely gathered under the general notion of greenness. I argue the Italian Mix is no different.

  3. April 5, 2018 2:09 am

    -R Thank you. Said it better than I could have, or tried to.

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