Coast Cooking

Sandwiches don’t have to be boring; the possibilies are endless

The ham and cheese biscuit idea was borrowed from the Green House on Porter, a coffee shop in Ocean Springs.
The ham and cheese biscuit idea was borrowed from the Green House on Porter, a coffee shop in Ocean Springs. Special to the Sun Herald

Almost everyone loves a good sandwich — ham and cheese, smoked turkey, chicken salad and even bologna.

Wikipedia lists more than 30 deli meats, so the options are almost limitless — capicola, soppressata and cotechino.

There also are many varieties of ham, salamis and sausages.

Just because there are so many options, does not mean you have to use them all.

Try sticking with the basics presented in a different way.

Let’s start with the bread. You can count me out when it comes to plain white American bread, but I love wheat bread, and the dark hearty breads, such as rye and pumpernickel.

If you want to back off on the carbs, make it an open-face sandwich.

A good crusty baguette also is a good choice as is a plain breakfast biscuit. Another favorite is a whole-wheat tortilla.

What to put between the bread is almost endless: a fried egg, pimento and cheese, chips of almost any sort, fried pickles, a good slathering of cream cheese, a handful of chopped herbs, such as cilantro, refried beans, salsa, diced jalapeno, not to mention all the more traditional condiments.

A special note on mayonnaise: It is easy to mix store-bought mayonnaise with other ingredients to get a special sauce (yes, mayonnaise is a sauce), but homemade is always best.

Once you’ve got the mayonnaise you want, mix it with anchovy paste, caviar, vinegar, pureed shrimp, lobster, chicken, duck or turkey or watercress.

Those are all suggestions form “Larousse Gastronomique,” the classic French encyclopedia of cooking. Consider adding cilantro, for a flavorful green mayonnaise or roasted garlic for a serious bite.

Biscuit and Cheese Sandwich

This is about as easy as it gets, but it makes for a delicious difference. Recommended for breakfast or lunch.

1 package favorite refrigerated biscuits

2 slices white cheddar per biscuit

2 slices smoked deli ham per biscuit

Wickles Realish

Optional: butter

Bake the biscuits according to package directions. When ready, work quickly as you want to serve them hot, slice open the biscuits, add the optional butter if you like, then fill with cheese and ham and serve at once.

The Reuben

This may be the classic American sandwich, the king of them all. To get it right, as always, use the best ingredients possible.

Thin sliced corned beef

Swiss cheese

Sauerkraut

Russian Dressing

Rye bread

Make sure the corned beef is sliced paper thin and the cheese as well, but not paper thin. Make sure to pick a good sauerkraut, some are better than others.

It may take a little experimenting. Add cheese to the first slice of bread, run it under the broiler to get it nice and melted, then add lots of corned beef, sauerkraut and then the dressing. Add the second slice of bread, put it in a press if you have one, or just back in a hot oven for a bit. Make sure to serve piping hot.

Grilled ham and pimento and cheese

I’d recommend that you serve this sandwich on wheat bread, but that’s just me. The original pimento peppers came from Spain.

Wheat bread

Thin sliced deli ham

1 cup grated white cheddar cheese

1 cup grated yellow cheddar

1 small jar pimentos

Cream cheese

Butter

Combine the two cheeses and the pimentos, then mix in the cream cheese until you have the consistency you want. Slather on two slices of bread, add the ham, butter the outside and grill until golden brown. Serve with your favorite crunchy chip for a contrast in textures.

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