Americans love sandwiches. In fact, this love affair has grown so much in the past few years that the sandwich has taken on a new importance.
In a interview with CBS News’ Sunday Morning, Harry Balzer, owner of the NPD Group, which studies America’s culinary habits, said, “This country’s number one entrée served in American homes is going to be a sandwich tonight. It’s easy. It can be made to your specifications. You can customize and make it the way that you like it. And I think it’s an inexpensive meal.”
The name “sandwich” comes from the fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792), John Montagu. This world-class card player didn’t like his hands occupied with anything other than his hand of cards when he was at the gambling table; so he began the custom of eating sliced meats and cheeses between two pieces of bread to always have one hand free.
Americans, too, are eating sandwiches because of convenience. The difference between Montagu and consumers on this side of the Atlantic is that the end product is healthier. The sandwich recipes below use ingredients that emphasize taste rather than calories:
Lean Ham Sandwich With Edamame Spread
(Reprinted with permission from Weight Watchers International)
6 cups water
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen shelled edamame (soybeans)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Whipped Cream Cheese Spread
2 slices Weight Watchers Multi-Grain Bread
2 ounces lean ham, thinly sliced
Bring water to a rapid boil in a medium pot. Cook edamame according to package instructions. When they are done, set aside about 1 cup hot water from pot. Drain edamame thoroughly. In a food processor, combine edamame, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and cream cheese. Pulse on medium-high speed until smooth, pausing occasionally to add 3–4 tablespoons saved hot water to edamame mixture.
Transfer edamame spread from food processor to covered container and cool in refrigerator. When spread is cooled, spread 1 tablespoon edamame spread on each slice of bread. Assemble sandwich with ham slices. Yield: 1 sandwich and 2 cups edamame spread (each serving of spread is 2 tablespoons).
(Reprinted with permission from Red Lobster’s Quick Catches Menu)
4 each 5-6 ounce salmon fillets
Freshly ground black pepper
5 each plum tomatoes, sliced ¼” thick
2 cups American field greens, washed and dried
8 slices, medium thickness, cooked Applewood Smoked Bacon
4 each sourdough buns
4 ounces Remoulade sauce
Brush the salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon over a medium-hot flame until desired doneness is reached. Toast sourdough bun, then brush lightly with melted butter. Place the lettuce on the bun, followed by the tomato, bacon, and salmon. Serve with Remoulade. Yield: 4 sandwiches.
(Reprinted with permission from Trim&Terrific™ Gulf Coast Favorites by Holly Clegg, Holly Clegg Publications; September 2008)
2 (12-ounce) packages party-size rolls (16–20 to a package)
1/2 pound thinly sliced lean ham
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian five-cheese blend
1 (16-ounce) jar chopped Italian olive salad, drained
Preheat oven to 375°F. Split rolls in half and lay on a baking sheet. Divide ham, cheese, and olive salad onto each roll. Replace bread tops. Bake for 10–15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Yield: 32-40 mini muffalettas.
Sandwiches may be convenient, but they don’t have to be boring. Experiment with some new ingredients, and you may come up with some recipes that would make John Montagu sit up and take notice.