Fun fact: About half of people in the U.S. eat a sandwich of some sort daily. This versatile meal was probably one of the first foods you ever learned to make on your own as a kid. And, chances are, you can spout off your favorite sandwich layers in nothing flat. But, there’s a sandwich and then there’s a perfect sandwich. What can you do to such a simple concoction to lead it to culinary perfection? Here are five simple and genius tips for the top-of-the-line sandwich.
1. It all starts with the best bread …
The perfect bread can be a matter of preference, no doubt. However, if there is one thing any chef will tell you when it comes to building a good sandwich, it’s that the bread you use means everything. Some would even say that if you’ve got the perfect bread, you’re already halfway to the perfect sandwich. Bread should taste good enough to eat all on its own with very little intervention. If not, find another type.
2. Condiment placement means everything
From mayo and mustard to olive oil and butter, condiments are a must with any perfect sandwich, but they should also be used the right way. The goal is to get a bit of that flavor with every bite. This means every bite will be just as flavorful and moist as the next. Remember this goal as you construct your sandwich—the usual method requires adding a thin layer to each slice of bread. If you’re using more than one condiment, don’t be afraid to slather a thin layer on the cheese or protein pick either.
3. Treat your veggies right
Whether it’s a basic leaf of iceberg lettuce or thin cucumber slices and tomatoes, the veggies on a sandwich should be handled just so. Wash cold veggies first with cool water. This adds that bit of crispness you crave in a sandwich bite. Make sure to handle them gently when layering them in place. Don’t be afraid of adding seasoned, warmed veggies either—this can make a sandwich much more dynamic. For example, shredded carrots sautéed in a bit of garlic and olive oil give a sandwich a new layer of flavor and texture.
4. Always opt for thinly sliced meats
Whatever type of protein you choose—turkey breast, pork tenderloin, ham, tofu—make sure the protein is sliced thinly. A sandwich should be easy to eat. No one wants to take a bite and pull away with all the protein in their mouth because it didn’t fall apart easily.
5. Layer sandwiches with intention
When it comes to sandwich perfection, never go at it haphazardly like you’re just throwing a bunch of stuff in the mix. How you layer matters. The general rule is to place your protein first and then build from there. Next comes the cheese, then comes the veggies and added garnishes. If you’re working with hot protein, such as warmed roast beef, consider adding cheese under and over the meat with the rest of the ingredients on top.