In fact, I have hesitated to post about sandwiches, as they seem, um, well, so easy and straightforward. So why bother? Then this month’s Saveur arrived: The Sandwich Issue. I happened to note that this excellent, wide-ranging, and thorough overview of (mostly American) sandwiches did not have many of the avocado varieties I often eat.
Avocado is one of the best sandwich ingredients I have come to realize over the years. In fact, I myself have developed a number of avocado sandwiches varieties – more or less variations and permutations of other classics.
For instance, instead of a classic bacon-lettuce-and-tomato, I use prosciutto, a bit of mayonnaise, avocado, and tomato – faster, easier, and less messy than cooking bacon. This is one of my favourite sandwiches. I serve it on sourdough, wholegrain, or even challah, for real decadence. In my feeble attempt to mitigate the sandwich’s fat content, I remove the white lardy edges of the prosciutto and offer it to Jinja and George (who, BTW, might continue their April Fools Day food blog, I Can Haz Food Blog, due to interest from readers of IslandEAT). These two cats sure love their prosciutto!
One sandwich I have developed of late is kind of a French tartine, with slow-roasted garlic spread over Dijon mustard on a multigrain flatbread or crackers, topped with a sliced avocado fanned out in wedges. Sea salt (fleur de sel works especially well) and scads of freshly cracked black pepper are all you need for a great snack, brunch option, or lunch. The tangy mustard and and nutty sweetness of the roasted garlic are superb complements for the rich creaminess of the avocado and the crunchy counterpoint of the flatbread – and vegan, vegetarian, and very healthful, too!
For the recipe – and the review…
As for the avocado, tomato, and mint sandwich, I was surprised by how different it was from other sandwiches I have had. The olive oil, mint, and lime work unusually well in highlighting both the avocado and tomato. However, none of them overpower the subtlety of the fruits (I do not have to tell you that both tomatoes and avocados are actually classified as fruit, right?). Nor do the components overwhelm the eater with any one particular element, in highjacking the sandwich – as can be the case with certain mustards. It is a fresh and refreshing sandwich, which is a perfect for lunch in warmer weather al fresco, when tomatoes are at their peak. But I will admit to having made this sandwich first mid-winter (not exactly a locavorean triumph in the Gulf Islands, I will admit).
I used a dark rye bread, though a light rye could work. Yet the heartiness of the darker Russian variety makes a bold brown visual and gustatory partner to the smooth pale green and juicy red interior.
When you are in need of a quick but healthful sandwich, give this one a whirl or try one of the avocado variants above for a departure from your sandwich routine.
Avocado, Tomato, and Mint on Dark Rye Bread, adapted from Australia’s delicious. (April 2010), serves four
- 1 ripe avocado, halved, pit removed and sliced in the the peel
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- 8 thick slices dark rye bread
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- A good handful of mint leaves, torn a bit, if you like
- Lettuce leaves (softer varieties, e.g., butter , green or red), optional but a nice touch
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Slice the avocado evenly lengthways, keeping the slices together. Cut the tomatoes in half, then slice each half evenly, keeping the slices together.
- Toast thick slices of the rye bread, as you like, then lightly brush with the extra virgin olive oil (about one-half tablespoon per sandwich).
- Place one quarter of the avocado and a tomato half on four slices of toast, fanning the slices out slightly.
- Scatter with mint, sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
- Squeeze the lime on the avocado, slap on the optional lettuce, if using, and close up your sandwich.
- Serve with a good deli pickle (it couldn’t hurt, now, could it?).