Tips for Designing and Making Your Own Signature Sandwich

If you don't consider yourself a cook (yet) you can still be a brilliant sandwich creator. It's all about taste and logic - and your willingness to experiment. You will then enjoy being known as the maker (and eater and sharer) of a Signature Sandwich. Read on for tips re: sandwich greatness. Maybe you'll design an entire collection.
  1. The bread is everything.
    Choose breads or rolls specifically w your sandwich in mind - bread shouldn't be an afterthought. Match up the flavors and textures in your mind when you picture your creation. Make sure the bread is very fresh; fine to freeze fresh bread airtight in heavy zip-style bags for anything you make later than tomorrow.
  2. Bold the mayo.
    If you are a mayo person, perk it up with lemon or lime juice, garlic (roasted or freshly pressed), horseradish or wasabi, minced herbs (chives, basic, tarragon, cilantro), curry paste, chili paste.
  3. The million mustard options
    So many mustards to choose from - it can be dizzying. Just buy whatever looks intriguing and start a collection. The good news is they tend to keep forever, and each sandwich can be a fun taste trial.
  4. Other cool spreads
    Supermarkets have entire sections -refrigerated and on regular shelves - of potently tasty spreads and dips (various pestos, hummus iterations, tapenades, mashed eggplant this, puréed red pepper that) all of which are potential sandwich enhancing material. Expand horizons.
  5. Unusual vegetable choices
    Roast or grill extra zucchini, onion, eggplant, peppers, portobello mushrooms when making these for dinner, and save some for your sig sandwich. Consider marinated artichoke hearts, slow-roasted Roma tomatoes, or even leftover salad that might be too wilted for another use. Also, cole slaw.
  6. Pickles and pickled things
    Sliced pickles (cucumber, peppers) from a jar or pickled vegetables (mushrooms, onions, cauliflower) pack seamlessly and perkily into a sandwich. Always a mouth surprise even when otherwise expected.
  7. Open or closed?
    If you're eating at home, consider an open vertical sandwich piled high w pretty and delicious bits that you totally don't mind falling off onto your plate. If packing a lunch to go, close it up thoroughly, careful not to squeeze or smash. Consider a hollowed out baguette or roll to accommodate more filling(s).
  8. Toasted or soft?
    For some people, toasting the bread is a requirement. Others need it pillow soft. Some love a combination of very crusty outside and soft in the inner sanctum. Consider grilling thick slices of sourdough (both sides, brushed w olive oil or butter) in a small frying pan beforehand.
  9. Grilled? Panini-pressed? Cheese-melted?
    Yes.
  10. Central sliced item - deluxe version
    If you're making the kind of sandwich that features a neat pile of sliced turkey or chicken or steak or brisket or roast beef, go the high-quality route. Either cook a very good cut yourself, or buy top of the line from a high-end purveyor. Avoid cheap pre-packaged "sandwich meat" if you want your sandwich to be truly Signature.
  11. Cheese. 🙌
    Cheese sandwiches are a world unto themselves. And grilled cheese is its own universe within that world (looking at you, @gabimoskowitz ) You could and well might spend a lifetime mixing and matching various cheeses, breads, spreads, formats. Worse things have been known to happen.
  12. PB&J fun variation
    Take it up a notch and make it personal and new. Highest quality whole-grain bread, exquisitely pure PB, and substitute fresh fruit for the J: sliced fresh peaches or grapes are the best. Just slip them right in there. Generously.
  13. Avocado toast, advanced degree
    Start w your trusty avo toast, and add roasted vegetables, tomatoes, bacon, and/or maybe even half of a freshly boiled egg w a softish yolk.
  14. BLT+
    Olive-oil pan-grill the bread first, then consider adding roasted tomatoes (if available fresh ones are less than great) and or some peppery watercress or arugula instead of the L, and/or sliced avocado or a fried egg. Vegetarians can enjoy this too, w @gabimoskowitz 's infamous, game-changing mushroom bacon.
  15. Fried egg bliss
    Consider a plain fried egg sandwich w the absolute freshest egg (pasture-raised, orange-yellow yolk) on olive oil-grilled bread. Maybe melt some aged cheddar onto the bread before adding the egg. Maybe regale w a roasted sweet bell pepper. Maybe not. "Signature" means you're the boss of this.
  16. Deviled Egg Salad w Almonds
    Add prepared mustard and chopped, roasted almonds to your already brilliant egg salad.
  17. Tarragon Chicken Salad w Grapes
    Exactly what it says. Add tarragon to the mayo. Chives, also, if available. Slice & add seedless red grapes. Extra black pepper is also welcome.
  18. Tuna becomes Pan Bagnat
    This treatment will have a Nice effect on your tuna sandwich. Use the kind packed in olive oil. Hold the mayo. Use olive oil instead on your sweet little bakery-fresh pain de campagne (or plain crusty flat-disk roll). Add sliced h-b egg, roasted sweet peppers, pitted olives, a few anchovies, a soupçon of très thinly sliced red onion. Magnifique!