The splendid art of sandwich-making

Published 10:21 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It’s the most basic of foods — a handful of ingredients in between a couple of pieces of bread.

But there’s more to the sandwich that meets the eye — or the stomach, in this case. Two local sandwich experts recently shared their expertise on what makes or breaks a good sandwich.

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Mike Touhey, co-owner, Broken Egg Bistro

What’s the most important thing for a sandwich, according to Mike Touhey?

“Fresh ingredients,” said Touhey, one of the owners of Broken Egg Bistro. “We have a baker that bakes our bread for us. Try to get the best produce you can, as well as homemade sauces for toppings.”

Touhey likes well-seasoned, quality meats and cheeses, unusual condiments and good pairings.

“Know what goes well together,” he said.

Touhey usually goes for a classic club sandwich. At his restaurant, his favorite is the Nansemond River wrap, a chicken breast embellished with avocado, sprouts, peppered bacon, tomato and more.

“If I’ve ever had a bad sandwich, it was because of wilted lettuce, dried-out cheese or dried-out meats — something that hasn’t been cut fresh,” he said.

Kenny Ricks, kitchen manager, Amici’s

Some people are turned off when their sandwich falls apart. Kenny Ricks loves it.

“When stuff is falling out, that just makes it more gooey and more delicious,” said Ricks, a kitchen manager at Amici’s in downtown Suffolk.

To Ricks, the most important part of a sandwich is the meat selection, then the condiments. His favorite sandwich features chicken, sweet banana peppers, tangy mayonnaise, provolone cheese and toasted bread.

As far as burgers go, the toppings are what make it top-notch. A burger topped with applewood-smoked bacon, red onions, chipped dill pickles and other features is his favorite.

“Everybody has different opinions on what’s a good thing,” he said. “It depends on what kind of sandwich you’re trying for.”

For those who don’t like their ingredients falling out, Ricks recommends they cut back on the grease and wet condiments.

“There’s no way to really stop it unless you cut back on the wet items you put on there,” Ricks said. “That’s just going to make your sandwich fall apart even more.”