Here’s a quick one for those days when you just don’t have the will to peel yourself off the couch for longer than 5 minutes. Yes, the title is a Spongebob reference. No, I will not apologize.
Today is a lazy day. I’m gonna make a beautiful dinner, but right now I just want to relish this day off and some much-needed veg time. Unfortunately, my stomach doth protest like CRAZY. You’d think with the amount of energy I haven’t used today I wouldn’t need a ton of calories to keep up, but here we are and the cat is starting to respond to my stomach’s growls. He’s sitting there looking around the room wildly like “Who the fuck did y’all let in here and WHY AM I BEING THREATENED?!”
I’m not even sure if this counts as a recipe. There’s not really a rhyme or reason, no breakdown today. It is, however, a combination that I just felt I had to share. And I mean LOOK at it. That shit looks fancy.
Seems like people these days are really into this kind of thing. Millennial avocado toast, anyone? Well this is not a trend for me, friends. Since when is using delicious buttery gluten as a delivery system a novel idea? We’re acting like my age group invented this. It’s just an open-faced sandwich, everybody. Hold it together.
Either way, toast deserves it’s moment in the spotlight. Especially when it’s done up with some key players. Here is a formula for a successful sammy:
The Gluten: Oh, how I have missed you my old friend. You can’t build a house without a foundation, and you can’t build a satisfying open sandwich without the bread. The key to this element is crispiness and fat. Butter or olive oil, country bread or whole wheat, just make sure it’s toasted up.
The Creaminess: This is the flavor base and the compliment to your crispy bread. This is a texture game. The creamy element both literally and metaphorically holds this dish together. It keeps your toppings stuck on top and it smooths out all the flavors so they blend in your mouth like a lazy-girl’s symphony. A few suggestions:
- Herbed goat cheese (used here)
- Smoked fish dip
- Pimento cheese
The Acid: If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of cooking, it’s that damn near anything can be made better with salt or acid. Bright pops of freshness cut through any heaviness from the cream layer and provide that ‘balance’ that people on Food Network are always going on about. Examples:
- Cherry tomato
- Green apple
- Berries (trust me)
- Pickled vegetables (radishes and red onion are my go to)
The Leaves: I almost bought a shirt the other day that said “Lettuce: The Taste of Sadness.” I don’t have anything against vegetables, y’all know I sing the praises of brussels sprouts all day long. I don’t necessarily have an issue with salads, either, I’m just not gonna call one dinner. Great side dish, but I’ll be up in an hour furiously making myself one of these with whatever I can scrounge out of the fridge. Leaves do have a place here, their gardeny freshness is welcome even to a carnivore like me. I used arugula for its fresh pepperiness. Ideas:
- Baby arugula
- Cilantro or other herbs
This beauty was Italian country bread toasted in good olive oil topped with herbed goat cheese, Serrano ham, arugula, heirloom tomatoes, and a sprinkle of kosher salt.
If you ever question the importance of salt here is a fun experiment: take a cherry tomato, split it in half, and salt one side. Sure, the unsalted side will be good, but once that salted half explodes in a fantastic flavor bomb on your tongue you’ll never question the importance of salt again.
Here are a few other combinations I suggest:
- Whole wheat with shrimp dip, spinach, and strawberries. I know, who the heck puts a strawberry with shrimp?? Well let me tell you, I had it at a restaurant back in Athens once and it changed my whole world. It is a combination from the gods.
- White bread with pimento cheese, bacon, arugula, and tomatoes.
- Toasted baguette with brie, green apple, and prosciutto.
- Soda bread with smoked fish dip, pickled vegetables, and cilantro. Or… banh mi style with pâté… LAWD.
Go look in your fridge, think of the formula, and don’t forget to let me know what you come up with. Unless it’s gross… then keep it to yourself. Stay tuned for tonight’s dinner.