Green Bean Sandwich

Green Bean Sandwich

Last month, my best friend and I stopped at Meat Cheese Bread for lunch and we each ordered a sandwich and then shared half of our sandwiches with each other. She had a pulled pork sandwich and I ordered a green bean sandwich, mainly out of curiosity. I mean, it sounded good, but I still wondered how green beans would fare as the star in a sandwich.

Extremely well. As good as her pulled pork sandwich was, it was still just a pulled pork sandwich. On the other hand, the green bean sandwich was a revelation. My budget does not run to dining out more than a few times a year, so if I wanted to have this delicious sandwich again, I would have to learn to make it myself.

Make Ahead

Bacon Jam

The first thing was learning to make bacon jam or relish. I read a dozen or more recipes, decided that I was not going to splurge on bourbon or maple syrup in order to save on sandwiches and came up with my own recipe without those ingredients. It may not be an exact replica, but it is delicious and it works. I could possibly add a bit more vinegar and be a little closer to the Meat Cheese Bread bacon relish since their version is not quite so thick. I am not too worried, though, because this sandwich turned out amazing and everything I hoped it would be.

Aioli

I also made up some aioli in advance. I cheated and made it with mayonnaise. I peeled 6 cloves of garlic and smashed them with the side of a knife. I sprinkled salt on them and let them rest for five minutes, coming back to mince them into small pieces. I stirred the garlic into 1 cup of mayonnaise and added the the juice of half of a fresh lemon squeezed. I mixed it all together, added 2 tsps of olive oil and stirred it in and put it away in a plastic container with a good lid. It will keep just as well as plain mayonnaise and will be a good spread of sandwiches or tasty added to some potatoes.

There were no ciabatta rolls when I went to the grocery store, so I bought some large hard rolls instead. This sandwich requires a roll with substance, one that will hold up and not get soggy when the egg yolk runs into it. The rolls I used are WinCo’s specialty and very affordable at 19 cents each.

Finally read to make sandwiches, I started by button a pot of water on the stove to boil, I filled it quite deeply with water because it needed to cover the eggs when I boiled them. While the water was heating up, I turned the broiler on the oven.

I snapped the vine end off 12 green beans and sliced a roll in half. I placed the halves of the roll on the top rack in the oven facing up toward the broiler coils.

One thing I thought I could improve on was the texture of the green beans. I thought they were just a bit too crisp and not quite done. I wanted crisp and crunchy but I wanted the flavor to taste done, not raw. To do that, I decided to blanch the green beans first. To save on pots and pans and time, I blanched them in the water for the soft-boiled eggs.

I dropped the green beans in the boiling water and counted out 60 seconds. I could have watched the clock, but 60 seconds is just long enough to get distracted and overcook the green beans. I didn’t want them cooked, just heated through so they lost their rawness. I pulled them out with tongs and set them aside and put 2 eggs in the boiling water, checking the clock. They needed to boil exactly five minutes for a perfect soft boil.

While they were boiling, I removed the now perfectly toasted buns from the oven and put them on a plate. I spread some aioli and bacon jam on one side and shaved off a few slices of parmesan.

After five minutes, I removed the pot of water from the burner and poured out the water, running cold water in the pot to cool the eggs so I could peel them. Meanwhile, I did not turn off the burner, instead I turned my stovetop fan up on high and used my electric coils to “grill” the green beans. I placed them directly on the coils and used my tongs to turn them and remove them  once they had a nice char. This worked very well and the beans were nice and crispy but not the least bit raw.

I placed them on the other half of the roll, laying down a bed of green beans. Then I peeled and sliced the soft-boiled eggs. They were perfect which meant the yolks were a bit runny which meant it was messy but that’s okay. I don’t know how you neatly slice soft-boiled eggs.  Using the side of the knife, I picked them off the cutting board and placed them on top of the green beans. I put a few shavings of parmesan on top and added just a bit of salt and pepper to the eggs.

They are photographed open, but I put the two halves together and pushed down just a bit. The yolk kind of held everything together and the flavors blended perfectly. There was the sweet and savory vinegary bacon jam, the creamy garlicky aioli, the fresh crispy green beans and the creamy, lush soft-boiled eggs with just a hint of the nutty parmesan all with a good, solid bread to absorb everything and hold it all together.

It was not identical to the restaurant sandwich, but the minor differences made it even better.

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Turkey Joe Sandwich

Turkey Joe Sandwich & Chicken Tortellini Soup

I buy ground turkey on sale, package it in 4 oz. servings in little freezer bags and freeze it for easy portion control. For this, I used one pkg (4 oz) of ground turkey to make one sandwich. I have a peeled onion in a plastic bag in the fridge door and slice off 1/4 slices at a time which gives me about 1 TBSP of onion. For this, I heated a small skillet with 1 tsp of olive oil and sauteed 1 TBSP of chopped onions until tender. I added 4 oz. of ground turkey (thawed before hand) and 1 whole tomato and 1 mushroom, chopped into 1/4 or so pieces. I sprinkled a bit of salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne on and let cook until down. I served on a toasted ciabatta with leftover soup.

Ham & Egg Salad Sandwich

Ham & Egg Salad Sandwich with Soup

Considering that there are egg salad sandwiches, ham salad sandwiches, egg sandwiches, ham sandwiches, ham & egg sandwiches and ham and eggs, I wondered why I had never seen and egg and ham salad sandwich. Resolving to address that lack, I mixed up a sandwich for lunch the other day.

I already had hard-boiled a half dozen eggs for salads and breakfast, so they were sitting nice and cold in a bowl in my fridge. I also had a peeled onion in the fridge that I had used in a few things and cut one 1/4 inch slice off it and diced it up. I chopped up one baby dill and added that. I sliced off about 2 ounces of ham and chopped it into cubes. Then I peeled a boiled egg and quartered it and cut the quarters in half. In a small bowl I mixed a TBSP of mayo with a dash of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp of mustard, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of cayenne and a couple shakes from the celery seed jar. I mixed that up and stirred into the ham, egg and onions and spread on a toasted ciabatta. I served with the Chicken Tortellini Soup from the day before.

It was tasty, but doesn’t supplant a plain egg salad sandwich which is one of my favorite sandwiches of them all.

Chickpea & Kale Salad with Tuna Melt

Kale-Chickpea Salad with Tuna Melt

I made the salad in the morning to let the flavors soak into the chickpeas. First I drained a can of chickpeas, rinsing the beans in a strainer and letting it sit to drain while in a bowl, I mixed 2 cloves of garlic (minced) with the juice of 2 limes, 2 TBSP of olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp of cayenne. I then tossed in the chickpeas. Then I cleaned 5 pieces of kale, removing stems and mincing finely. I mixed it all together and put a lid on it, shaking it vigorously and put it in the fridge to marinate the flavors. This has a nice bit of heat that is beautifully balanced with the lime.

About 30 minutes before dinner, I diced 1/4 yellow onion and opened up a small can of sliced black salad olives and drained it. I tossed half the olives in with the onions, saving the rest for another day. Then I opened 1 can of tuna in water and drained the water off and rinsed the tuna lightly under water before adding to the onions and olives. I added salt, pepper, 2 tsp of Old Bay and a few TBSP of of mayo and a generous dollop of mustard. I mixed together, spread on a ciabatta buns cut in half to make 4 pieces. I added a thin slice of cheese on top and baked at 350 for about 20 minutes. The Old Bay really gives this a savory flavor. This makes 2 open-face sandwiches.. If you make a single serving, you can use half the olives and save the rest for a salad.