Apr 3, 2010

sandwich theory

here in the northeast, it is a clear nearly-spring morning (we have to say that, in case it actually still is winter) and the dawn chorus has just been and gone. i am up at 6.20am, for reasons that will be detailed anon, and have just breakfasted on a toasted burrito of my own confection (turtle beans, chipotle morita, aged cheddar, avocado, cilantro and red onion, cholula, on a wheat tortilla). i could eat these every day, they're so tasty.

today, i made a tactical error: i folded the herbs and cold avocado into the burrito and toasted everything slowly on cast iron. i had forgotten that, in some things, there is an absolute minimum number of steps required for satisfactory results. when added only at the end, the cilantro, onion, and avocado in one of these toasted burritos are the requisite cold and crunchy counterpoint to the soft, warm cheese and beans.

which brings us to theory. great sandwiches almost always have contrast. few of the sandwiches i love are uniformly one or another temperature, which is why most of the truly great sandwiches must be made to order and consumed instantly. the two top of mind are: 1) the grilled english muffin, sweet butter, honey, and sea salt; 2) the toasted focaccia or sweet baguette, olive oil, cheddar, tomato, scallions, black pepper.

1) has to be cold and rapidly melting butter, cold honey, salt, blazingly hot muffin. 2) has to be a warm, crusty (but still tender) bread, thinly-sliced, ripe, cold tomatoes, thinly-sliced, cold scallions, cool or room-temperature cheddar, olive oil, and lots of fresh black pepper. this is also a sandwich that can only be eaten satisfactorily standing up at the kitchen sink, with crumbs and juices raining down as you go.

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