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Reinventing Sandwiches, From the Inside

Sandwiches have two main components - what's outside and what's inside. In this article, you'll learn that there's much more creativity for the taking when lunchtime rolls around. Find new ingredients to build original creations that will taste as good as they look, and let's pay attention, for the moment, on what could be inside your next favorite sandwiches.

Putting a New Twist on Traditional Sandwich Ingredients

Picnic time is here, and new and exciting sandwich recipes await your imagination for the coming seasons. No need to tweak tried and true classic recipes that have satisfied for years; this year try something different – reinvent your sandwiches from the inside, with fresh ingredients your family will love.

A New Twist on Main Ingredients

We'll begin with what most people consider the 'main' ingredients of a sandwich, and check in with some new options for the favorites you're used to enjoying time and time again.

1. Chicken

You've tried sliced, chopped, and chicken salad sandwiches, but what about some unconventional possibilities? For example, why not pound some chicken into cutlets and roll them in crushed pecans, then fry them to a golden brown? How's that for a little fresh flavor and extra crunch in your next chicken sandwich?

Let them cool, then either build a hearty wrap, or slice the chicken and pile high on some good bread with your favorite fixings. If your cutlets are thin enough, you can even create fancy roll-ups with them.

2. Beef

Have you thought about redefining your meaning of a traditional steak sandwich? Thin-sliced roast beef is filling, but a thick, juicy steak doesn't have to be enjoyed by itself. Outside of your local pub, you've probably never thought about the possibility.

Choose a lean steak, of course, something less than an inch thick. Grill it quickly in a hot skillet to your favorite temperature, then let it cool and find the right bread to house your new creation.

3. Seafood

Many people of seafood sandwiches as a can of tuna or smoked salmon, but there are so many other types of seafood that do well between two pieces of bread or wrapped in a tortilla. Consider some spicy shrimp, fried oysters, or flaked crab meat, or layer crawfish or fish filets with a variety of greens for a double-decker that will satisfy wonderfully.

4. Pork

A pulled pork sandwich is certainly a popular favorite, but it's also one of the more common sandwiches on restaurant menus, for one. You could add a little variety by choosing sliced, grilled, or roast pork tenderloin instead. The meat is still tender and juicy and shaped just right for sandwiches. You could even lay a row of thin slices on a baguette, for those with bigger appetites.

More Good Fillings

Peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese – two other classic sandwiches that may have run their course for your palette. Try a PB and B instead – that's peanut butter and bacon. It may not be a new discovery for some, but crumbling that bacon over your peanut butter instead of just laying it down could be enough to make a new sandwich sensation in your home.

If you're still craving a PB and J, choose pepper or mint jelly as an alternative, something that perks up that boring sandwich you're contemplating. The same rule applies to cheese sandwiches as well. A decidedly unique and flavorful cheese like muenster, gouda, or mozzarella could put a gourmet touch on a school lunch staple.

Creamy, Crunchy, and Spicy Accessories

Sandwich accessories, dressings, and fillings can get a little crazy, wouldn't you agree? That's allowed. When you've chosen a 'new' main ingredient, look for new accessories to add creamy, crunchy, creamy, or spicy flavor elements to your sandwich.

Instead of reaching for the standard mayonnaise to mix up a creamy spread, put your hands on some Greek yogurt or guacamole instead. How do you feel about olives? If you’re a fan, mash up some in cream cheese for a zesty addition to any sandwich. A little hummus can also make a nice change from the usual mustard or mayo.

Sure, onions go well on top of steak sandwiches, but shallots have a delicious mix of onion and garlic flavor as a worthy substitute. Lose the lettuce and put a layer of watercress, shredded cabbage, or arugula on your sandwich instead. Even apple slices or thin celery sticks add the right amount of crunch to many sandwich combinations.

As for spices and seasoning, the world is yours to explore. Try fresh dill sprinkled over a cucumber sandwich, or add chopped jalapenos to your egg salad sandwich for a spicy twist to relish. There's lots of flavor combinations ready and waiting to boost your standard sandwich fare.

Want to spice up chicken or seafood salad? Try some curry, cumin, or cayenne for a flavorful adventure. Add some thyme, sage, or rosemary to beef and pork sandwiches. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle on a little extra for a gourmet sandwich you'll soon be sharing with others you rave to.

Don't forget about herbs, either, when imagining new flavors for boring sandwiches. Add them in layers or mix them spreads to find the right combinations, or you can even marinate main ingredients in them.

These ideas may not be original, but they're certainly subject to experimentation. When you put ingredients between two pieces of bread to make a sandwich, have an open mind and you just might produce some amazing results. Your new attitude toward sandwiches will pay off when it comes time to share what's in your picnic basket.


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