Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Segue from a Cook (part 5)

The Sandwhich

Possibly one of the greatest, and most common, foodstuffs in the world, the sandwhich is a plain, but greatly enjoyable dish. The Danish have a particularly nice lunch custom involving a large selection of breads, meats, and condiments, served open face. My Danish step-grandmother used to always greet my family on visits with a lunch like that. I remember pleasently sitting with a Coke while my grandparents and my parents drank beer, and listening to long conversations while the slow process of the meal went on. Eda doesn't make these spreads anymore, but my stepmother still occasionally lays them out.

While we don't make sandwhiches at Il Posto, I've taken to having a piece of baguette with some grilled veal scallopini, grilled zuchinni, honey mustard, and balsamic vinnagrette dressed greens for my lunch. At Sharkey's we have several sandwhiches, including a fairly pleasent clubhouse, and I'm ever enjoying the wide selection of panini served at a place by the lake called Stoney's.

I'm a little be enamoured with the sandwhich, not so much because I like the medium its on but there are so many nice things you can put between two slabs of bread. I think my particular favourites are a half dozen slices of bacon, microwaved until brittle and crispy, thrown on some bread with butter. Or a nice couple of English breakfast sausages, hot and greasy, slit open and rolled up in a piece of buttered white bread.

But by far, my absolute favourite is the clubhouse. A more magnificent, Scooby-Doo-esque tower of meat and bread has never been seen by man. A pair of hulking, perfect layers of tender chicken, crispy bacon, and whatever other trimmings you so see fit to place on those three pieces of bread.

I've got my own little recipe for the clubhouse. There's a secret to it. Its a simple secret: its all in the bacon and the mayo. You can put almost any kind of meat on a clubhouse, from tuna to turkey (but probably excluding headcheese), but if your mayo isn't right, and your bacon isn't perfect, its all gone to nought.

Bard's Clubhouse
3 slices of good, solid bread, preferably something multi-grainish and hearty
4 slices of bacon
1 small chicken breast
1 tbls mayonnaise
1 pinch of chili powder, paprika, dry dill weed, dry parsley
a couple pieces of lettuce
2 dill pickles
any other fixins (onions are nice, some folks like tomatoes)

1. Grill the chicken breast to 160F and let it cool. Slice it on a diagonal to get some nice thick pieces that cover a wide area.
2. Throw the bacon in the microwave, liberally covered top and bottom with paper towel, for about 6-9 minutes, until crispy, depending on your microwave.
3. Toast the bread and mix the mayo and the spices together.
4. Slice the pickles into nice thin slices, and cut some thin pieces of onion, tomato, whatever.
5. Build the sandwhich. The bottom slice and top slice both get a liberal helping of the mayo. From the bottom up, build: bread, mayo, onion, lettuce, tomato, bacon, bread, mayo, chicken, pickles, bread.
6. Slice on an angle. Put a toothpick in each slice, just to be safe, and serve with chips, or potato salad, or whatever. A good glass of milk or a nice cold beer go well with it, to.

But experiment! Throw things on bread! Mix spices with mayo and mustard and come up with fun spreads to thrown on. Try toasting, grilling, baking, broiling, and frying the things.

And remember: Eat good food. Enjoy good food. And, at some point, cook good food.


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