When I lived in Savannah years ago, there was a lovely little sandwich shop that I loved. Called the Angel House Café, they made the best sandwiches ever to grace this earth. While I no longer live in Savannah, and while the Angel House Café is long gone, I still make one of their sandwiches on a semi-regular basis. I’ve also been inspired by the rest of their menu, and my sandwich game is pretty good.
Sandwiches can be as humble or as over-the-top as you like. There’s really no such thing as a sandwich recipe – they are infinitely adaptable, depending on tastes. I’m sharing some of my family’s favorite sandwich ideas for you to try and adapt to your tastes!
It’s hard to have a good sandwich without a good mayonnaise. While Hellman’s and Duke’s are the best commercially available mayonnaises, there’s nothing better than homemade. This is mine.
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 ¼ cups oil (this is where you can get creative, depending on what you are using the mayonnaise for – my current favorites are extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil, but a neutral oil like grapeseed or canola are wonderful)
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and cayenne until the mixture is light and frothy. Then slowly, oh so slowly, drizzle in the oil while whisking like crazy. I find that putting a damp towel under the bowl keeps the bowl from spinning while you whisk like a madman. In the beginning, only add a couple of drops at a time, but once the emulsion gets going, you can add the oil in a slow stream. Once you have added all the oil, taste the mayonnaise, and adjust seasoning as needed. This will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, but if your house is anything like my house, it won’t last that long!
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
This is the perfect use for your homemade mayonnaise!
½ pound sharp cheddar, grated (PLEASE do not use the preshredded stuff for your pimento cheese!)
½ pound white cheddar, grated
½ to 1 cup homemade mayonnaise (the amount used will depend on how loose you like your pimento cheese)
1 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, drained and patted dry
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. This is the basic pimento cheese recipe. You can add in all sort of things to your taste. I like either a minced clove of garlic or two thinly sliced green onions along with a dash of Dijon mustard. You can add in chopped olives or pecans. Chopped jalepeños are good. Bacon never hurts. Just be sure not to add in too much extraneous stuff. You don’t want your pimento cheese to be overwhelmed.
To make a perfect pimento cheese sandwich, simply spread on good bread. You can toast the bread or grill the sandwich. You can add bread-and-butter or dill pickle slices. Lettuce and sliced tomatoes and onions are fine. Slather the pimento cheese on a burger for the best cheeseburger you’ll ever eat. The possibilities are endless!
Angel House Veggie Sandwich
1 good baguette
Sundried tomatoes (I use the ones preserved in oil and drain them well before patting them dry)
Thinly sliced red onion
Thickly sliced cucumber
Sprouts (I grow my own sprouts, but if you can find a spicy blend, it’s great in this!)
Boyd’s Dill Dip – recipe follows*
Gently warm the baguette. You don’t want it shatteringly crunchy, just warmed through. Split and spread with the Boyd’s Dill Dip, and then layer the sundried tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, and sprouts. You can certainly add meat to this if you like. Turkey is very good, as is thinly sliced roast beef. If you get wild and crazy, add a few avocado slices!
*Boyd’s Dill Dip: Combine 1 cup mayonnaise (you can use homemade or commercial), 1 cup sour cream or Greek or Lebanese yogurt, 1 tablespoon dried minced onions, 2 tablespoons dried dill, 1 tablespoon dried parsley, and a couple of shakes of hot sauce. Let sit for at least an hour for the flavors to meld.
Lamb Meatball Pitas
For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground lamb
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Zest of 1 lemon (you’ll use the juice in the tahini sauce)
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon dried oregano, dried mint, or dried dill
For the Tahini Sauce:
2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Juice of 2 lemons
½ cup tahini (ground sesame paste, available in most grocery stores)
Pinch each of ground cumin and cayenne
Ice water for thinning
For the Sandwich:
Whole wheat pitas
Thinly sliced/shaved onion
Thinly sliced tomatoes, drained on paper towels
Mixed green herbs (I use flat-leaf parsley, mint, cilantro, and dill)
For the Meatballs:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mash together. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to allow the flavors to meld. (You can make the tahini sauce while the lamb is resting.) When you’re ready to cook, make small meatballs. I usually make them about the size of a large marble and then slightly flatten them. You can either cook them in a large skillet in batches, or you can put them on a baking sheet and bake them in a preheated 375° oven for about 15 minutes.
For the Tahini Sauce:
While the lamb is resting, make the tahini sauce. Combine the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. With the processor running, add the ice water a little at a time until you have reached the desired consistency. For this recipe, I like the sauce consistency to be in between a salad dressing and a dip. Loose but spreadable. Allow to sit on the counter until you need to use it to allow the flavors to meld. It can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator.
For the Sandwich:
Because I usually cook the meatballs in the oven, I just wrap the pitas in foil and warm for about 8 minutes. This makes them more pliable. Split the pitas and gently open. Slather the insides of the pitas with tahini sauce, followed by the meatballs, vegetables, and herbs. This is a lovely, bright, summery sandwich that’s good for picnics as there is no mayonnaise to spoil. If you have a vegetarian to cook for, simply substitute grilled veggies – zucchini, onions, eggplant, tomatoes, fennel, asparagus, or whatever looks good in the grocery store – for the meatballs.
Sandwiches are extremely subjective and even more forgiving. You can put almost anything between two slices of bread, and it will be okay. So experiment! Let us know your favorite sandwich in the comments below!