How to Travel the World Between Two Slices of Bread
Is the sandwich the truly global dish? The term dates to the mid-18th century, when the fourth Earl of Sandwich insisted on eating dinner with one hand to keep the other free for either gambling or office work, depending on which historian you favor.
Name aside, food has been tucked in between bread for hundreds of years. Almost every country has its own sandwich. From the Mexican torta and Italian panini to India’s vegetarian vada pav and Portugal’s dramatic Francesinha, the world of sandwiches is as bountiful as that of wine.
Here are three of our favorite sandwich recipes, from Uruguay, Vietnam and France, with local and more far-flung beverage pairings.
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Recipe courtesy Gonzalo Bava, owner, Charrúa, New York City
The chivito, an overstuffed seared-meat sandwich, is Uruguay’s unofficial national dish, and the Canadiense (Canadian) version is the most common. With three meats, including filet mignon, Charrúa’s deluxe version is its most popular menu item.
- 10–11 ounces filet mignon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 strips bacon
- ½ medium white onion, sliced thin
- 2 brioche rolls, halved
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ½ beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 slices
- 4 ounces jarred roasted red peppers (about ½ large pepper), sliced
- 2 ounces sliced cooked ham
- 2 ounces sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 leaves lettuce
- 2 boiled eggs, sliced
- ½ cup sliced green olives
Heat oven to 475˚F. Cut filet mignon into ¼-inch slices, then pound to ⅛-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.
Cook bacon in skillet over medium-high heat until it starts to crisp. Remove from pan, and set aside. Add filet mignon in batches, if necessary. Sear 30 seconds on each side. >Remove from pan, and set aside. Add onion, and cook until it just softens and starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Spread 1 tablespoon mayo on each half of roll. Layer tomato, steak, onion, bacon, red peppers, ham and mozzarella evenly on top of bottom half of rolls. Place open-faced sandwiches in oven until cheese melts, about 2–3 minutes.
Remove from oven. Add lettuce, eggs and olives. Finish with top half of rolls. Slice in half, and serve immediately. Serves 2.
Viñedos de los Vientos 2017 Anarkia Tannat (Uruguay). “Tannat is a classic pairing with chivito, and I particularly like this one from Atlántida, Uruguay,” says Bava. “The gentle tannins work very well cutting the richness of the meats and melted cheese, cleaning the palate for the next bite.”
Leeuwin Summer 2017 Siblings Shiraz (Margaret River). Shiraz/Syrah is terrific with cured meats like ham and bacon, as well as piquant veggies like red peppers and olives. This wine’s berry and spice notes meld well with the chivito’s many flavors.
Recipe courtesy Rose Previte, owner, Compass Rose, Washington, D.C.
Compass Rose’s freewheeling take on international street food has made it in Washington, D.C., favorite since it opened in 2014. With the pickles made in advance, this sandwich comes together quickly. To make it even easier, ask your butcher to slice the pork.
- 1 shallot, peeled
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 pound boneless pork shoulder, sliced ¼-inch thick
- 2 soft French sandwich rolls, or 6-inch lengths of baguette
- Garlic and turmeric mayo (recipe follows)
- 2 jalapeños, sliced thin
- ½ packed cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Banh mi pickles (recipe follows)
In blender, purée shallot, garlic, pepper, sugar and fish sauce. Toss pork slices in mixture. Marinate at least 30 minutes, or, refrigerated, up to 12 hours.
In large sauté pan over high heat, or on grill, sear until just cooked, 1–2 minutes per side.
Cut pork slices into thin strips. Slice bread lengthwise. Spread mayo on both sides. Divide pork, jalapeño and cilantro evenly among sandwiches.
Top with about ¼ cup pickles for sandwich. Serves 2.
Banh Mi Pickles
Stir together 1 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon salt, until sugar dissolves. Combine with ½ cup julienned daikon and ½ cup julienned carrot.
Refrigerate overnight, or up to 1 week. Drain before using.
Garlic and Turmeric Mayo
Stir together ¼ cup mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons ground turmeric and 1 tablespoon garlic powder.
Saigon Export Lager (Vietnam). The intense flavors of banh mi—meaty, pickled, fatty, herbal—are refreshed by an easy-drinking beer like this Vietnamese favorite.
La Casa Vieja 2017 Rosé (Valle de Guadalupe). “I love this Mexican rosé because of its tart ripe strawberry, guava and passion fruit notes,” says Maria Bastasch, wine director at Compass Rose. “It has a punch of acid that complements the pork shoulder and the pickled veggies in the banh mi.”
Recipe adapted from The Foreign Cinema Cookbook (Harry N. Abrams, 2018)
At San Francisco’s longtime wine destination Foreign Cinema, the Croque Madame has garnered somewhat of a cult following. It never leaves the brunch menu. Serve this knife-and-fork sandwich with fries and salad.
- 3½ tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ⅓ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 (½-inch thick) slices good-quality sandwich bread, like pain de mie
- 4 ounces sliced Gruyère
- 2 ounces dry-cured ham, sliced thin, like Bayonne or prosciutto
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup béchamel sauce (recipe below)
In small bowl, stir 1½ tablespoons butter with mustard, Worcestershire and cayenne. Spread mixture on 2 bread slices. Divide ham and cheese between bread. Top each with unbuttered bread slices, and press down.
In large, heavy skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. When butter sizzles (but before it browns), add sandwiches. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until bread turns golden and cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Flip sandwiches, and add 1 tablespoon butter to pan. Cook until golden, about 3 minutes.
Set oven rack about 8 inches from top broiler. Heat broiler. Place sandwiches on baking sheet lined with foil. Set aside.
Warm oiled, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack egg into pan. Cook until it just begins to set, about 20 seconds. Slide onto 1 sandwich. Repeat with second egg.
Spoon béchamel over sandwiches, leaving yolk exposed. Broil until béchamel browns in a few places, but yolks remain somewhat runny. Serves 2.
In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Stir in 1 tablespoon flour and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly. Be careful not to brown flour. Whisk in 1 cup whole milk. Bring to boil, whisking constantly. When sauce thickens, reduce heat to low and simmer. Whisk occasionally until sauce has consistency of thick gravy, about 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper and pinch of nutmeg, to taste. If sauce is lumpy, pass through fine-mesh sieve.
Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu 2018 Alma Mater (Vin de France). “The nose of this new-school carbonic Gamay is all red-berry fruit with a soft underpinning of earth, with the palate opening up into red currant and a nice leafy quality,” says Shannon Tucker, Foreign Cinema’s wine consultant. “Its soft structure is a great complement to the sandwich, with enough brightness to balance out the richness.”
William Chris 2018 Pétillant Naturel Rosé Sparkling (Texas). This fresh, juicy wine pairs well with the sandwich’s salty elements, while the bubbles help refresh the palate between bites of this decadent dish.
- 1Chivito “El Canadiense”
- 2Banh Mi
- 3Croque Madame