If you can find a square loaf that you can slice yourself, or a sliced loaf for dieters, you're well on the way to success. Thin bread slices can be hard to butter, but if you slice them yourself with a bread knife and butter the loaf very lightly just before you cut each slice, you can achieve very thin buttered slices quite easily.
However, not all your slices will need buttering. Although for some fillings, butter will help keep the layers together, you can use, as a butter substitute, a thin layer of mustard or mayonnaise or yogurt flavoured with mustard or capers or tomato-flavoured cream cheese, etc.; whatever is appropriate for the ingredients of your sandwiches.
• To make a tasty layered sandwich, you need to combine fillings that will be compatible. Having decided on, say, three fillings (although two fillings and three slices of bread is also a good choice, and somewhat easier to handle), place a slice of bread on the working surface, spread it with filling number one, and place another bread slice face down on the filling.
Then spread filling number two on its upper side, and put on another slice of bread, butter side down. Then spread filling number three on top of it and finally, the top slice of bread.
When this sandwich is assembled, place your hand on it quite firmly and trim the crusts from the four edges with a sharp knife, then put the sandwich aside while you prepare the next one. When you have assembled all the sandwiches, wrap them two or three in a pile in plastic food wrap and chill them.
• Close to serving time, cut each sandwich into four small rectangles, or triangles, or even into three long rectangles, for slightly larger sandwiches. As you arrange the sandwiches on the serving plate or in the carrying container, make sure, by the way you place them, that it is clear that they are layered sandwiches.
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Filling combinations for layered sandwiches
• ham, tomato and cheese
• cold cuts, cucumber and tomato
• pâté, sandwich pickles and shredded lettuce
• scrambled egg, bacon and salsa
• Cream cheese with tomato paste, cucumber and carrot, finely shredded
• bacon, apple and onion
• blue cheese, cream cheese and alfalfa sprouts
• smoked salmon, cream cheese with dill, and onion
• egg salad, smoked salmon and shredded lettuce
• thinly sliced roast beef with horseradish cream, cucumber and tomato
• thinly sliced roast lamb, cream cheese, mint and cucumber
More suggested fillings to mix and match
• traditional tuna, salmon or egg salad
• cheese of all kinds, thinly sliced
• cooked asparagus, mashed with a squeeze of lemon juice and some pepper
• carrot, finely grated, with a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger, and a little sour cream
• hummus with parsley, cilantro or mint, chopped
• devilled ham
• salad shrimp, lightly mashed with a little mayonnaise or salad cream
• pressed yogurt with green herbs
• marinated beets, finely chopped, with pressed yogurt
• sun-dried tomatoes, chopped, with mayonnaise
• steamed white fish with mayonnaise
• smoked fish, with parsley and mayonnaise
• anchovy fillets, mashed with lemon juice
• salami slices, cut paper-thin
• olives, chopped
• celery, chopped
• arugula, shredded
|Excerpted from The Urban Picnic: Being an Idiosyncratic and Lyrically Recollected Account of Menus, Recipes, History, Trivia, and Admonitions on the Subject of Alfresco Dining in Cities Both Large and Small by John Burns and Elisabeth Caton. Copyright 2004 by John Burns and Elisabeth Caton. Excerpted with permission from Arsenal Pulp Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.|
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