In my humble opinion, sandwiches play a big role when it comes to summertime meals. Not many people I know want to be hanging out in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove. They’d rather be outside and especially at lunchtime, on the patio eating a sandwich. But it’s got to be more than a simple PB&J.
So here’s a selection of classic as well as classy club sandwiches you can easily prepare – for the traditionalists or the gourmet munchers in your life. Add a frosty glass of lemonade or a favourite summertime cooler to drink and voilà, lunch is served. Be sure to have some frilly toothpicks or fancy cocktail swords on hand to hold the sandwiches together.
Chicken Club Classic
The original club sandwich. Usually served with a side of French fries or a handful of potato chips, and some pickles. Most of us retirees will recall these as standard room service fare at most hotels during our lifetime. A trip anywhere, whether it was for business or pleasure, always included a “Club” ordered up to the room.
How to make one if you’ve forgotten: Arrange three slices of lightly toasted white bread in a row on a breadboard or the counter top. Spread some mayonnaise over 1 side of each slice of toast. Next, place a couple of lettuce leaves on top of the piece of toast, top with two tomato slices, and season with salt and pepper. Lay two strips of bacon over the tomatoes and top that with a slice of chicken breast. Repeat the process with the second piece of toast. Carefully place the second layered toast slice on top of the first layered toast, chicken side-up. Cover the whole stack with the third piece of toast with its mayonnaise side facing down.
Secure the whole sandwich with four toothpicks or cocktail swords placed diagonally (sort of a diamond shape) so you can then slice the sandwich into four triangles. This sandwich can also be made with sliced deli turkey.
Harry’s Bar Club Sandwich
Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, is one of the world’s most renowned watering holes and they do a truly delicious take on the classic 3-decker club sandwich. Theirs is composed of sliced baked ham, hard cooked eggs, lettuce and tomatoes. Apparently, it’s all about the mayonnaise, homemade in this case. Again, secure the whole stack with a few toothpicks before slicing up.
Le Club Sandwich Nordique
The Westin Paris-Vendôme Hotel’s ‘Bar des Tuileries’ in Paris serves up an interesting and healthy adaptation of the classic club sandwich. Le Club Sandwich Nordique is composed of spelt flour black bread, Gravlax salmon, cream cheese, fresh dill, sliced red onion, pickles, beetroot, cucumber, lamb’s lettuce and squirt of lemon. Serve it as they do with a red cabbage salad. Skewer it all together and serve cut in squares.
Let’s get super decadent here. And, since Canada’s Maritimes supply some of the most delicious lobsters to our grocery stores at this time of year, there’s no excuse not to try this magnificent club sandwich. Simply follow the same method for a classic club using toasted brioche for a change and substitute lobster meat for the chicken or turkey, mix up some fresh homemade lemon mayonnaise to slather over the lobster, add bacon and instead of lettuce try using some baby arugula. No amount of skewering will keep this lot together, but you can try! It’s a squishy, yummy stack of delicious decadence.
The Mediterranean Club
Enjoy the flavours of the Mediterranean with this savoury club sandwich. Fire up the BBQ for this one. Use rosemary focaccia bread as your base. Layer fresh basil pesto sauce, warm BBQ’d herbed chicken, or some strips of grilled fish filets, onion confit, and some summer fresh cucumber slices for crunch between three pieces of lightly grilled focaccia that’s been rubbed with extra virgin olive oil. Cut the stack in half and secure with a longish skewer or toothpick. Serve a Greek salad with tomatoes, feta cheese and Kalamata olives on the side.
No matter how you slice them, club sandwiches, whether triangular or rectangular, classic or artisan, offer any sandwich-maker lots of options when it comes to satisfying hungry family and friends. Or if you just want to reminisce and wax nostalgic about some of your old business trips.