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August 12, 2009

Sandwich and Sauce? It’s Really Not So Fishy


In the family tree of food, the portion that covers the sandwich would incorporate its own trunk. The mere act of sliding one piece of food between two pieces of bread has grown and expanded. Today, we find its variants in every nook and cranny of every restaurant.


Take the lowly burrito, for example. It is a cousin of the sandwich, but instead of using two pieces of bread to book-end ingredients, it uses one slice of a bread-like thing to wrap around them. If the sandwich is the source of no end to human enjoyment, then it was also an innovation of incredible creativity that has begat new and interesting generations of foods designed to separate your fingers from lunch through a barrier of bread.


Today, there is very little that has not been turned into a sandwich. There is the spaghetti sandwich, the lasagna sandwich and the hero sandwich. Less complicated, nearly every individual food item has its own sandwich ideology, from the tomato to the steak. This also includes fish.


It is not widely understood that sometimes for a sandwich, the thing that makes it is the sauce. In fact, most people would think a sauce to be somewhat at odds with the purpose of a sandwich – the sauce is supposed to be a thick liquid that marches according to its own tune, while the sandwich typically seeks to keep lunch from turning into a giant mess.


Bake a fish filet, preferably something that can stand up to the heat while not becoming a flaky mess once cooked. This means relying on a more firm fish like tilapia. Bake it at 375 degrees until cooked throughout. You will be tempted to season it, or to drizzle lemon juice on it, or to do something else to it that you might do if you wished to provide some flavor to fish. Avoid that temptation. There is sauce afoot, and you do not wish to cause conflict between sandwich ingredient and overlaying sauce. Such a thing would lead to sandwich disharmony, which is one of the greatest crimes never to have a law passed to prohibit it.


While the fish bakes, whip up your sauce. It is a simple mayonnaise and sour cream sauce, although it is a bit more complicated than simply blending mayonnaise and sour cream. Once these are combined, add some cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, lemon juice, chopped cilantro and salt. The white will turn brownish, and the bland will turn flavorful.


Two questions remain unanswered here – what bread to use and what leafy material to use to add a touch of color and sense of sophistication. Here, a Kaiser roll works well, as does fresh leaf spinach. You now have the raw materials necessary.


Do you need instructions on how to construct the thing? Such a suggestion insults the long, fine association of the sandwich with the human race. You can sort it out, with one hint – the spinach tops the sauce.


© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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