Guest Author - Catherine Bridges
Whether preparing the odd family sandwich or prepping for a party, there are several tools kept in my kitchen specifically for making sandwiches very special.
Craft scissors and shears. Kept clean and solely for kitchen duties. Use them to cut customized edges on bread for tea sandwiches, hors d’ouevres, or fun children’s sandwiches. Cut before toasting the bread to make the edges show more prominently and to avoid crumbling away. Use the shears to cut a pocket in texas toast and waffles. Cut sandwiches in different shapes for even more intrigue. Try rectangles, triangles and circles.
Cookie cutters = small, medium and large. Small ones are perfect for cutting out the tinier breads for tea sandwiches and hors d’ouevres. Medium and large for making larger sandwiches to fit a holiday, theme or special event. Cookie cutters can be used in conjunction with butter and/or egg whites to make impressions on bread or omelets. Dip or brush the down edges of your cutter with butter or egg white. Push the cutter into the bread, but do not cut all the way through. The butter or egg white will make the impression stand out after just a few minutes in a hot oven. Also, try using the cutters on meat slices and tomato slices. Then offer the sandwich open-faced on the plate for an extraordinary presentation.
A small to medium-sized grater. Grating any cheese and meat ingredients allows for the flavors to mix and the sandwich to have a “piled high” look. Also, adding a bit of lemon, lime and/or orange zest to the meat and mixing well before adding to your sandwich will brighten the meat’s flavor and tickle your palate.
Sealed plastic bags of what I call - essences. It has been proven that just the scent of a particular herb or spice enhances the diner’s experience and the flavor of the food. I keep separate pieces of rosemary, tarragon, basil, thyme, lemongrass and others wrapped in a damp paper towel, sealed in a sandwich bag and refrigerated in your vegetable drawer. When applying essences to a sandwich, simply remove the paper towel and crumple the leaves of the herb or crush them with the back of your knife blade. This releases the herb’s essence. Then, rub on the inside and outside of all the bread pieces.
You can also put the “crushed” herbs into a bottle of vinegar or olive oil and let them “cure” for a few days. Drizzling these vinegars and oils over the inside of your sandwiches is a delicious condiment option. You can apply the olive oils to the outside of the bread and grill on cast iron or a panini grill to impart and heighten the essence more fully into the sandwich bread. Doing this, you will also have a ready supply of bottled essences that can be used in all of your foods, not just sandwiches.