Few meals are as universal as the sandwich. It’s quick, easy, and damned near impossible to screw up. But while sandwiches can be simple, they can also be epic. The difference lies in certain key principles, says Travel Channel star Adam Richman. So what makes the best sandwich? A few things, actually.
Everything in moderation. “No one thing should overpower another,” Richman says. Fiery toppings like habanero peppers will steal the show and leave you with a one-dimensional sandwich. Consider the qualities of each ingredient and how they’ll work together.
Stop thinking of it as edible parentheses. “Look for bread that’s more than just a means to get the ingredients into your mouth,” Richman says. “It should be as much a part of the flavor and textural element of the sandwich as what you put between it.”
Juiciness comes from quality ingredients, not copious amounts of sauce. Add just enough to contribute to the flavor. “A certain degree of finger-licking runniness is good, but when there are juices everywhere, you’ve gone too far,” Richman says.
Don’t let yourself down. Be consistent in your construction. “The meat and condiments should go all the way to the edge of the bread,” Richman says. “And if you’re using a crunchy bread, that last bite should be as crunchy as the first.
The order of ingredients is key, Richman says. “If you’re going to include any kind of heat, like a pepper or hot sauce, always put it at the top. Whatever ingredient is closer to your tongue is the impression you’re going to be left with.”
Like a work of art, there’s a time to stop adding things. “Putting too much on a sandwich makes it hard to appreciate nuance,” Richman says. Instead of unpacking your fridge, first come up with a concept for your sandwich, then go and grab what you need.