Monday, October 15, 2018

Do You Know the Secrets to Building the Perfect Burger or Sandwich?

With the new school year well under way, and the repeated task of packing of kids lunches again, got me thinking about sandwiches. When you make sandwiches (or even burgers for that matter), do you fly by the seat of your pants? Simply throwing together ingredients haphazardly between bread/buns, or is there an artform about it? A mapped-out procedure, if you will? No, I don’t work as a sandwich artist for the popular submarine sandwich chain. This is just something I have learned over the years.

This technique I am about to share with you has been tried, tested and true. I have experimented many times over with numerous ingredients, in different combinations, and my steadfast rules are accurate. These steps will have you making sandwiches and burgers better than you have ever done before. Now these rules won’t apply to simple kids’ sandwiches (like peanut butter & jelly, and such), they are meant for more ‘complete’ sandwiches. Read along and you will understand. If you are vegetarian or vegan, I will apologize in advance that I have not included your preferences in this scientific breakdown of layering ingredients.

Most sandwiches and burgers consist of a bread top and bottom with a meat protein in-between. The
secret lies in the placement of all the other ingredients. Should you place them below the protein, or above the protein?

My unwavering criteria for perfection are simple: strong tasting ingredients should be placed below the protein, while light and creamy ingredients should be placed above the protein. But why, and how does that make a difference? Isn’t everything just chewed up in our mouths anyway and make for the same intermingling of flavours regardless of how it was assembled beforehand? Not exactly. We have a myriad of taste-buds located on different areas of our tongues and they do not all pick up the same flavours. That’s the best way I can describe it from a chef’s perspective.

Now when I say ‘strong tasting ingredients’ I mean stuff like ketchup, relish, mustard, barbecue sauce, onions, pickles, hot peppers, etc. Anything that has a strong, overpowering, or pungent flavour. These should be placed below the protein.

‘Light and creamy ingredients’ would include lettuce, tomato, cheese, mayonnaise, etc. and should be placed above the protein.

I know I have only included handful of examples of each type of strong, or light and creamy ingredients, but I think you get the point. With anything you are wanting to place inside a sandwich or burger, I simply want you to decipher it into these two simple categories and place it as stated. Trust me, it will make a huge difference.

Not a believer? Then put it to the test: build your sandwich or burger as I have suggested and take a bite. Then cleanse your palate with a drink of water, turn the sandwich upside down and take another bite. You will find that the first bite just tastes better.

I also have one more important tip for you: if you are adding lettuce and tomato, make sure you season with salt and pepper – it makes a world of difference as well. This is not the time for table salt however; I want you to use a pure salt (kosher, sea, Himalayan pink, etc.) because in raw applications like this, table salt will taste too chemically directly on your tongue.

Until next time... Happy Cooking!

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