In 1980 I was attending Parsons School of Design in New York. My friend Raul Martinez and I both had an evening language class at the New School. My challenge was to get us dinner for a dollar. I would pick up two day-old kaiser rolls and enough potato salad or coleslaw to round out that dollar. Dinner was potato salad sandwiches or coleslaw sandwiches.
Paging through Susan Russo’s The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches I came upon a “recipe” for a chow mein sandwich, and was transported back to NYC and dinner with Raul. While I wouldn’t recommend any of those three sandwiches from a nutrition perspective, I can recommend this book. Susan writes Food Blogga, one of the first food blogs I started reading. Her newest little book is as petite, charming, and informative as she is.
I make fewer sandwiches since going gluten-free, so it was fun to get new ideas from reading through the book. While our GF bread options are more limited, moms or dads will enjoy seeing how many variations of sandwiches they can make to brighten up a lunch box.
The book is packed with fun facts, original recipes and classic regional recipes about this most portable of foods. History, local lore, and lots of ideas for pairing ingredients made this book fun to read, and I loved the alphabetical layout. Gorgeous pix by photographer Matt Armendariz, food styling by Adam Pearson, and design by Jenny Kraemer make this an excellent reference book for food bloggers as well.
The renovation: I started with a tempeh bacon recipe from Chef Wes at Blossoming Lotus restaurant in Portland, and have adapted it to make it smokier and more candied. Use the best summer tomatoes you can get, like a beefy heirloom tomato, soft and crisp butter lettuce, and your favorite mayo. I used Udi’s GF bread for this sandwich, as I like the floury crust that reminds me of ciabatta bread.
vegan, gluten-free, reduced-sugar diets
low-sodium or migraine diets
Makes one sandwich
2 slices Udi’s GF multigrain bread
2 slices heirloon tomato, perfectly ripe
1-2 butter lettuce leaves
3 slices tempeh bacon (recipe below)
1-2 T. mayonnaise (regular or vegan)
1-2 basil leaves
Finely mince the basil and mix it with the mayo. Slice the tomato thickly and remove the seeds and goo from the slices. For a non-soggy sandwich, pat the slices dry with a clean kitchen towel. Toast the bread. Spread each slice with mayo, then build your sandwich. You can add a couple of slices of ripe avocado if you have them, just dial back on the mayo.
P.S. If you happen to know Raul Martinez, a graphic designer with a charming Cuban accent who loves vintage clothes and Akira Kurasawa movies, tell him he owes me a sandwich. 🙂