My mom always made the best sandwiches in the world. I remember looking forward to every school break just to open my lunch box and munch my way through her creations before joining my classmates for fun and games. And years later her sandwiches were equally enjoyed as part of “padkos” (food for the road) with boiled eggs and meat balls. It turned every road trip into a journey of joy!
I’m a lot older now, a lot, and I have changed, but sandwiches have not. They’ve only become more desirable and complex as my palate developed. Still, at their heart, they are sandwiches – two pieces of bread, with something yummy in the middle.
As for pairing sandwiches with wine, the latter will rescue any sandwich from dull simplicity and adds a new dimension to a gourmet sandwich. When the prep work is easy, “chef” can focus on more important matters like ingredient sourcing, flavour and texture combinations, and of course, the pairing. It may be cute in its uncommonness, but sandwich pairings give us a reason to drink wine with even the simplest of meals.
Vietnamese Banh Mi
The Banh Mi’s signature flavour profile comes from the combination of meats or tofu with pickled vegetables, fresh cilantro, soy sauce, and fish sauce. These are savoury flavours to the max. Example meats include sausage, meatballs, ham, pork or liverwurst. I choose bean curd (tofu) or pea proteins. Whatever you choose must complement the pickled vegetables and crisp hunks of toasted bread. You’ll want to avoid over-crisping the toast, so choose the softest, plumpest bread you can find. The fresh versatility of a grenache-based rosé is a good choice.
Elvis Presley’s Hot Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches
One of the King’s favourite foods, this sumptuous treat is a textural delight. The crisp exterior complements the rich, smooth filling. Elvis discovered the sandwich at a Denver restaurant. It was served as a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with peanut butter. The version I present here is less indulgent by far, but you can jazz it up with a glass of rich, buttery chardonnay.
Lamb Souvlaki Sandwiches with Greek Salad
I just want an excuse to drink Assyrtiko from Santorini, and I think this is it. While not a traditional sandwich bread, pita pockets are fair game. The truth of the matter is, the pita is so stuffed that you will most likely end up with an open-face sandwich on your plate. However, the spirit of sandwich remains intact.
As for the wine, Assyrtiko from Santorini is grown on silty volcanic soils. Otherwise look for a white with high acidity and flavours of citrus (notably lemon) and minerality.
Tarragon Shallot Egg Salad Sandwiches
Egg salad may sound pedestrian, but this jazzy recipe defies convention. Any sauvignon blanc with a characteristic greenness and fruit zest is a perfect partner.