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Picnic Season :: 13 sandwiches you must make this summer

Summer Sandwiches. Image via Jessica Moseley Gordon

Summer Sandwiches. Image via Jessica Moseley Gordon

There's something about a sandwich. It's satisfying, nourishing, and relatively easy to put together. These portable meals can be eaten just about anywhere and during the summertime, when the weather is warm and we want to spend our days outdoors, this perfect meal allows us to do so. Make it in advance, wrap it up well, and voila! My family happens to take sandwich making very seriously. We're not talking about a slice of meat, a piece of lettuce and some mayo and mustard in between two pieces of flimsy bread. We're talking so much more! We're selective about our bread, very! And we're selective about our ingredients. We like to switch things around and use all sorts of different condiments, all sorts of different proteins, veggies, and most importantly, all different kinds of bread. Many will say the most important ingredient is the bread - it is after all what makes a sandwich a sandwich. The bread is what gives the all important crunch and chew. The bread is what we crave. The choice of bread is what will bring your sandwich to a whole new level. So let's start with the bread.

Put away the sliced bread that comes wrapped in plastic. You won't be needing it for these. We'll be looking to our bakeries - either standalone or the one in the grocery store. We want breads with thick crusts and soft interiors. Or rolls that are brimming with flavor, such as onion rolls, ciabatta rolls, challah rolls and pretzel rolls. We love French breads, Italian breads - semolina, ciabattas, and focaccias. 

Since it's summertime do take advantage of all that wonderful fresh bounty - there's nothing better than vine ripe tomatoes, fresh lettuces, spinach and herbs in a sandwich. Why not go vegetarian and leave the meat to the side. A sandwich of fresh grown veggies on a thick crusty baguette drizzled with a fresh homemade vinaigrette is my idea of a perfect lunch whether at home, poolside or at the beach.

Substitute traditionals condiments with pestos, aiolis, homemade dressings, spreads made from goat cheese or hummus. I love sandwiches made with dressings, pestos and aiolis. Even changing up your "spread" can dramatically improve a sandwich. 

Proteins are, to many, the mother of all sandwich ingredients. Let's walk away from the deli and look to grilled chicken, salmon, even shrimp. Consider eggs, hardboiled and sliced or egg salad. Italian tuna packed in oil (not American packed in water), leftover steak or pork thinly sliced. Replace your meat with assorted cheeses like goat, manchego, havarti, camembert or blue that all go wonderfully well with the season's fresh vegetables. 

Salads make wonderful sandwiches. Hollow out a baguette wedge or the inside of a roll and stuff it with a Greek salad, chopped salad or Salade Nicoise. 

Below I'm sharing some of my favorite sandwiches created by various other bloggers to give you more inspiration! 

Alexandra Cooks creates this divine looking Croque Monsier with a poached egg. 

Alexandra Cooks creates this divine looking Croque Monsier with a poached egg. 

Food & Wine has a recipe for chicken salad sandwiches that are above and beyond the ordinary. (It's all in how you poach the chicken!)

Food & Wine has a recipe for chicken salad sandwiches that are above and beyond the ordinary. (It's all in how you poach the chicken!)

Will Cook for Friends has these wonderful looking fig and goat cheese sandwiches. Summertime is fig season.

Will Cook for Friends has these wonderful looking fig and goat cheese sandwiches. Summertime is fig season.

Not without Salt shows us how to make these wonderful slow roasted tomato BLTs for a more intense flavor. 

Not without Salt shows us how to make these wonderful slow roasted tomato BLTs for a more intense flavor. 

This vegetarian sandwich from chef Gabrielle Hamilton for House Beautiful is a perfect bite on a warm summer day.... heirloom tomatoes, onions, ricotta, lemon avocados and a hearty bread... It doesn't get more simple than that!

This vegetarian sandwich from chef Gabrielle Hamilton for House Beautiful is a perfect bite on a warm summer day.... heirloom tomatoes, onions, ricotta, lemon avocados and a hearty bread... It doesn't get more simple than that!

Grilled vegetables, cheese and bread. Simple, Satisfying, Sublime. In the summertime sometimes you don't want that heavy protein weighing you down. FoodieCrush has the recipe.

Grilled vegetables, cheese and bread. Simple, Satisfying, Sublime. In the summertime sometimes you don't want that heavy protein weighing you down. FoodieCrush has the recipe.

Summer simply isn't summer, at least here in New England, without a good lobster roll. When you get them at a restaurant they can be almost prohibitively expensive. They're not hard to make on your own. You'll simply have to decide whether you want a mayo or butter based recipe. The GIrl in the Little Red Kitchen has a mouthwatering recipe for a butter-based sandwich that promises to offer a bit of a kick! 

Summer simply isn't summer, at least here in New England, without a good lobster roll. When you get them at a restaurant they can be almost prohibitively expensive. They're not hard to make on your own. You'll simply have to decide whether you want a mayo or butter based recipe. The GIrl in the Little Red Kitchen has a mouthwatering recipe for a butter-based sandwich that promises to offer a bit of a kick! 

Bon Appetit has a chicken waffle sandwich. Perfected. I've always been intrigued by this Southern bite. Chicken, waffles, bacon, cheese and green onions. Sounds like a winner to me!

Bon Appetit has a chicken waffle sandwich. Perfected. I've always been intrigued by this Southern bite. Chicken, waffles, bacon, cheese and green onions. Sounds like a winner to me!

Food.com has the Caprese Panini perfected. Because sometimes you warm warm, runny, gooey cheese.

Food.com has the Caprese Panini perfected. Because sometimes you warm warm, runny, gooey cheese.

Smoked salmon, and a good crusty bread is never a bad thing. A dab of soft creamy cheese, some lemon and dill and I could live on this all day. There are many variations and many different breads may be used.  Image via Kwestia Smaku.

Smoked salmon, and a good crusty bread is never a bad thing. A dab of soft creamy cheese, some lemon and dill and I could live on this all day. There are many variations and many different breads may be used.  Image via Kwestia Smaku.

For those who likes sweet and savory, fresh figs and prosciutto, arugula and ricotta on a tender flaky croissant will delight and satisfy. Image via Relish Catering. 

For those who likes sweet and savory, fresh figs and prosciutto, arugula and ricotta on a tender flaky croissant will delight and satisfy. Image via Relish Catering. 

Anything tastes good in a baguette! Simply buy baguette and fill with whatever you wish! Image via Tartlette

Anything tastes good in a baguette! Simply buy baguette and fill with whatever you wish! Image via Tartlette



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