Your ingredients are the stars
Recent winner of Food Network Star, host of The Kitchen and executive chef at Pork & Mindy’s in Chicago, Jeff Mauro knows a thing or two about making a masterpiece between two pieces of bread. Nicknamed “The Sandwich King,” Mauro says before you even think about putting anything together, take time to consider the value of what you’re buying from your local grocery store or specialty shop. “You can have all the right pieces to put together an amazing sandwich, but if those ingredients aren’t quality, then the final dish will never be delicious,” he says. But what if you don’t have time to watch bread rise or grow your own tomatoes? Mauro gets it, and suggests for those ingredients, “find an amazing bakery or deli to buy from.” These places will likely be better prepared, as compared to a big box store that sources in quantity, not quality. Here are the steps to creating the perfect sandwich.
The other perk of focusing on quality ingredients over whatever is the cheapest is how it pays back in dividends. Mauro says he tries his best to support small local businesses, not only because it’s important for the economy, but because often times, little shops will have more interesting sandwich fixings. From a spicy mustard that’s been crafted from a family who has dedicated their life to perfecting the recipe to an unusual jam concoction that you would never think to make yourself (bacon-jalapeño, anyone?), but tickles your palate—it’s often at lesser-known stores that you’ll find hidden gems. Here’s how to craft the best grilled cheese sandwich.
Spend more time on your bread
Your first invitation into the kitchen was probably in elementary school when your parents taught you how to take out two pieces of bread, slather some peanut butter and jelly and call it a day. Though it’s true that PB&J still has its time and place, to make an epic sandwich (meant for an adult appetite), Mauro says to not move too quickly from that pivotal first step. Which is? Bread! “So many people make the mistake of not treating the bread correctly,” he explains. “You want to butter and griddle those buns or put that French bread in the oven for five minutes to reactive it and if you must, buy the freshest sliced bread possible.” Because it’s the foundation of your sandwich, skimping on preparing it will keep your sandwich game from going from little leagues to pro.