Posted on July 25 2009
At Alaska West and Andros South, we lay out a spread during breakfast and our guests make themselves a lunch for the day. Sandwiches are assembled, cookies chosen, fruit selected and a few candy bars often make it into the bag too.
Mike Racine has contributed posts for us in the past, and today he gives us some widsom for the ages: how to make the perfect fishing sandwich. Keeping sandwich bread from getting soggy is obviously something Mike has thought a lot about!
Nobody likes a soggy sandwich. Reaching into your lunch bag and finding a doughy, gooey mess is just plain wrong. How do we craft the typical components of a sandwich into a meal that satisfies with no squishy bread?
One option is to pack the condiments and components separately and assemble them at time of consumption.
This works, but do you really want to rebuild your meal on the boat or shore? Isn’t the whole objective of pre-assembly to minimize overhead during the day? I mean who wants to be the person meticulously re-arranging sandwich components in their lap while the bite is on? Try these simple tips.
Go easy on the tomatoes. While I love tomatoes, they are the enemy of the lunch sandwich prepared in the morning. It’s obvious – the large amounts of water in the standard tomato simply wreak havoc on the defenseless bread. My preferred approach is just to leave ‘em out. If you must have them, consider the following: choose a low-moisture variety such as a Roma if available. Alternatively, consider removing the watery matrix in which the seeds are carried. However, I would call that a high maintenance sandwich and I’m a low-maintenance kind of guy.
Butter both sides of the bread liberally to create a moisture barrier. This is similar to the concept of spreading black plastic under the crawlspace of your home to prevent mold-inducing moisture. Correct application is essential for this method to work. Additionally, one has to enjoy butter in significant amounts using this approach, but it’s doable.
Logically sequence the component assembly in such a way that soggy-inducing elements are shielded from the bread. Old school approaches call for condiment application such as mustard, mayo, and ketchup directly to the tender leaves of bread, spreading evenly to the very edge of the crust for best effect. While this approach is highly effective for meals made to eat immediately, it falls down when subject to the rigors of the passage of time, scrunching in backpacks, heat, etc. Consider shielding the bread by strategically placing drier components (lettuce, cheese, meat, etc) against the bread and inserting condiments in the interior.
Toughen the bread. At Andros South, we often toast the bread that is put out for sandwich assembly. This is a personal favorite because it achieves the objective by structural enhancement of the bread, and adds taste elements of vanilla complexity that enhance your sandwich experience. This means no reconstruction in the field, no re-training in terms of the traditional, tried and true methodology at time of assembly, and overall, it just seems to work.