Sandwich Sunday: The Veggienator
When it comes to sandwiches, everything between two slices of bread has a certain ‘ethnic’ flavor profile these days. More and more I’m finding that this means one of two things. A) It’s your standard ‘American’ sandwich that features some combination of a generic cheese, bacon, turkey/ham/roast beef and wheat bread or B) Something trying to be Latino or Asian in its taste complexion.
Not that I can’t work with a chicken breast with jalapenos or a burger with a pineapple on top, but I’m all for working with more Old World style taste profiles too. Case in point, the use of my favorite type of bread (Pumpernickel), with an array of vegetarian friendly ingredients to create this past week’s homemade sandwich: The Veggienator.
Ok, so I’m not exactly sure how “German” this sandwich may or may not be, but here are the results nonetheless.
Description:Taking full advantage of Einstein Brothers’ free bagel coupon offer on Facebook, I snagged a pumpernickel bagel and toasted it in a 350 degree oven for a couple of minutes. I then grilled several cut up slices of Anjou pears on my panini grill, along with a tri-color arrangement of red and green bell peppers with red onion. An application of 1/3rd less fat, block-style cream cheese was slathered on one side of the toasted bagel, while regular yellow mustard went on the other. Four crisp cucumber slices graced over the cream cheesed side, along with an application of dried dill and black pepper. Fresh spinach rounded it out. Meat? Who needs meat when you have so many elements of flavor and texture already packed between a bagel? That and, you know, I’m a poor college student 🙂
The Verdict:I love the combination of grilled fruit on old world grains. While the EBB bagel may not match the genuine European article, it does have a slightly nutty flavor and earthy rye taste, as well as a modest sweetness that gives good aftertaste and contrast to the initial sweetness of the grilled fruit. Likewise, the cucumber and spinach added a fantastic contrast in terms of their cool taste and bite, and worked well with the cream cheese and dill (a classic combo). The grilled red onions and peppers are a must on any veggie sandwich, and gave this one a terrific vibrancy that balanced the sharp acidity of the mustard. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It was very good, to be sure, but far from perfect. For starters, the pears I used were over-ripe, and they didn’t grill at a high enough temperature to caramelize (they turned out a bit rubbery, as if I had stuck them in a microwave). They also leached water, which made the toasted bread a bit soggy. Likewise, using 1/3rd less fat cream cheese was a mistake, especially in block form. It was all I had on hand, but it turned out slightly gummy and didn’t integrate will the dill as expected. Using a whipped spread — such as EBB’s garlic and herb “schmear” — would have been a better choice. These mistakes in construction spoiled what would otherwise have been my “ideal” veggie sandwich, which for the record was still very good. Not to toot my own horn, but I think I am growing as a sandwich artist.
GrubGrade: 8.25/10 (Very Good)
*Your Turn: What is your ideal vegetarian-friendly sandwich and why? What elements must an all-vegetable sandwich include for those of you who normally eat meat?