Grilled or toasted, overstuffed or open-faced, we love a good sandwich. Luckily there are scads of options out there, from a decadent mac 'n cheese meatloaf sandwich at Houston’s Pappa Charlie’s Barbeque to the towering In-Between Triple Decker at New Jersey’s Harold's New York Deli Restaurant, a mound of corned beef and pastrami stacked amid three layers of pancakes.
But sometimes less is more: Some of this summer’s most memorable sandwiches revolve around surprisingly simple ingredients, like a vegetable you'd never expect to see playing a starring role on a slice of bread. The examples we're most impressed by lately are at Portland, Oregon’s Meat Cheese Board, which is serving up seasonal sandwiches made with summer’s finest bounty, like green beans.
The hot green bean sandwich, created by Meat Cheese Board's chef and owner John Stewart (formerly of the city's renowned Park Kitchen), starts with toasted ciabatta bread spread with a housemade bacon relish that combines onion, bacon and brown-butter-sherry-vinegar sauce. Then come the green beans, blanched and cooked with butter on the griddle. Lemon aioli, fresh Parmesan shavings and a soft boiled egg top things off, making for the kind of crunchy, creamy, savory experience we're always looking for in our sandwiches.
For anyone not tempted by the concept of a green bean sandwich, the asparagus version might be more to your liking, but it's only served when fresh, in-season asparagus is available. In fact, "the green bean sandwich started as an asparagus sandwich but once the asparagus season ended, the popularity of the sandwich had us looking for a substitute,” notes Stewart.
Green bean sandwiches above; photos courtesy of melajohnson/Instagram.
Or maybe you'd prefer beets between your bread slices? The delicious borscht hoagie, an homage to the classic beet soup, combines roasted beets with housemade red cabbage choucroute (pickled cabbage) and dill cream.
If all that sounds a touch too virtuous, there's always Meat Cheese Board's indulgent maple sandwich, which can double as dessert or even breakfast: Melted spicy chipotle cheddar, a sausage patty, and sliced fennel join together inside what can only be described as the richest sandwich bread imaginable: two slices of maple-currant bread pudding.
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