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Ideation: Five ways to a great sandwich

Start with great bread, layer on tasty filling ingredients, add a creative touch or two. Five pros share their tips for making sensational sandwiches.

Café Soleil Reuben

Tory Miller, L’Etoile Restaurant and Café Soleil, Madison, Wisconsin
Miller’s breads are all baked in-house and his ingredients sourced locally. “The farmer I buy my beef from had to move a lot of brisket, so I brined some to make corned beef for this Reuben,” he says. Hook’s aged Swiss cheese from Wisconsin, housemade sweet-sour cabbage and Jewish rye complete the grilled sandwich.

Roasted American Lamb Sandwich

Michael Scott Castell, Bistro Toulouse, Houston
Lightly toasted boule from a nearby wholesale bakery encloses roast lamb slices, Port poached pears and goat cheese. Castell cooks a boneless leg specifically for this menu item, making it one of the more expensive. “Although the sandwich costs $12, it’s very popular,” he reports. The soft, slightly dry goat cheese—sourced from Texas producer Cheesy Girl—adds the right contrast.

Rare-Seared Tuna with Edamame Puree

Nancy Silverton, La Brea Bakery and Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles
Layering flavors as well as ingredients distinguishes this knife-and-fork sandwich. Toasted sourdough bread is the base; herbed edamame puree is spread on top, followed by soy sauce-marinated seared tuna and whole edamame. “Interesting spreads and fresh herbs can jazz up sandwiches,” Silverton says. 

Amato’s Original Sandwich

Jeff Perkins, Amato’s, Portland, Maine
In Maine, this quintessential sub is called the “Real Italian,” but at Amato’s in other states, it goes by “original sandwich.” Either way, Amato’s soft, signature Italian roll is piled with ham, cheese and lots of vegetables. “Our sandwiches are as much about the veggies as the meat—fresh-cut onions, tomatoes, green peppers and olives. The flavor comes from the fresh ingredients,” Perkins explains. 

Roast Turkey Panini

John Strohm, Palm Springs Koffi, Palm Springs, California
Lattes and espresso might be the draw at this casual coffee bar, but the panini press works overtime, turning out grilled breakfast and lunch sandwiches. For this turkey panini, one slice of ciabatta is spread with seasoned cream cheese, the other, with cranberry sauce; sliced roast turkey and onion are layered in between. 

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