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Our best ever sandwich recipes

7 of our all-time favourite sandwich recipes

by Great British Chefs 02 November 2018

Leave the limp, soggy meal deal supermarket sandwiches on the shelf and take the time to craft a gourmet sandwich at home with one of these incredible bread-and-filling combos.

When John Montagu – the fourth Earl of Sandwich – first slapped a bit of cold meat between two slices of bread in in mid-1700s, he surely couldn't have known that he was inadvertently entering his name into gastronomic history. According to legend, the eponymous inventor of the sandwich was a compulsive gambler, and used to sustain his twenty-four-hour gambling binges by placing cold beef between slices of bread so he could eat whilst playing cards. Whether he invented the sandwich at all is up for debate, but either way, the sandwich has become a real workhorse in our daily diet.

Thankfully, sandwiches have come a long way since John Montagu's gambling days, despite what you might think of the squidgy prepackaged things from the supermarket we've all given into at lunch. Food cultures all over the world have their own riffs on the same theme, whether it's katsu sandwiches in Japan, bánh mìs in Vietnam, tramezzini in Venice, choripan in Argentina or countless others. It's clear the possibilities offered by two pieces of bread and a filling are practically endless.

Below are a few of our favourite sandwich recipes, courtesy of some of the UK's best chefs and food writers, but for even more ideas check out our sandwich collection in full.

1. Croque madame

An Englishman may have invented the sandwich, but France certainly does a fine line in bread-based beauties too. Croque madame originated in a Parisian cafe in the early twentieth century, but has become a mainstay of cafés and bistros across the land. Nancy Anne Harbord's version keeps things traditional – a sandwich of French ham, Gruyere cheese and Dijon mustard, pressed together and fried in butter, then finished in cheesy bechamel with a fried egg on top.

2. Mumbai sandwich

This toasted sandwich is the snack of choice on the streets of Mumbai, and there's not a sniff of generic yellow curry powder in sight (sorry, coronation chicken!). The body of the sandwich is a green chutney – made with ginger, green chilli, coriander and mint – dusted with a freshly ground spice mix and combined with tomato, red onion, cucumber and cheese. It may sound simple, but the results are delicious – the chutney is sharp and spicy, cutting through the oozing melted cheese.

3. Balik ekmek

With the Black Sea on one side and the Sea of Marmara on the other, Istanbul is home to some incredible fish and seafood. One of the most popular snacks in the city is this sandwich, which combines fresh mackerel with a zingy, crunchy salad, pomegranate molasses and a sprinkle of chilli flakes. Helen Graves' version uses smoked mackerel for extra punch, but feel free to go with either – you won't be disappointed either way.

4. Smoked eel sandwich with onion pickle

Jeremy Lee's smoked eel sandwich is one of London's most legendary dishes, becoming famous far beyond his Soho restaurant Quo Vadis. Deceptively simple to make, it stands out thanks to the faultless combination of oily smoked eel, hot horseradish cream and crisp flavourful sourdough. The little clump of pickled onion on the side cuts through the fat in the sandwich to create a showstopping dish boasting the very best of British cooking.

5. Chargrilled onglet and watercress sandwich with quick-pickled celeriac rémoulade

Steak sandwiches rate pretty high on our list of ideal winter comfort foods, and this chargrilled onglet number ticks all the boxes. The quick-pickled celeriac remoulade on the side is a clever touch – it cuts through the meaty steak and peppery watercress, making this so much more than your bog-standard steak sarnie.

6. Lemongrass tofu bánh mì

The bánh mì is a landmark in gastronomic terms. This hybrid sandwich came about during the French occupation of Vietnam, and combines one of the great breads of the world – a glorious crusty French baguette – with a melange of Vietnamese flavours, including pickles, lemongrass, chilli, coriander and fish sauce. Helen Graves makes hers with tofu, but you can easily substitute that for something more meaty if preferred.

7. Barbecued ox heart sandwich

Ox heart sandwich might not be as famous as prawn mayonnaise or egg and cress, but it takes the humble steak sandwich to another level. Ox heart is a hugely underused cut of meat – it tastes very similar to steak but is far cheaper, simply requiring a bit of extra attention when cooking. It's best to keep things simple and let the ingredients do the talking by whipping up a piquant salsa verde. The result is a sandwich that delivers on all fronts.

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