The following suggestions demonstrate the breadth of today's sandwich offerings, which range from morning meals to late-night offerings.
- Breakfast Sandwiches: Breakfast sandwich sales are not limited to morning meals. The NPD Group reports that 46 percent of breakfast food orders during other times of the day include a breakfast sandwich, a fact attributed to the convenience of sandwiches.
- Primo Ingredients: The 2006 Evolving Sandwich Report released by Technomic Information Services points out several trends in the sandwich category: In addition to the popularity of breakfast sandwiches, consumers are seeking out premium ingredients.
- Regional Raves: Consumers also demonstrate loyalty to regional sandwich preferences, according to the sandwich report.
- Big on Burgers: Technomic's Menu Monitor data notes that burgers are offered on menus at more than half of all the Top 500 segment of restaurants. Add to this the fact that seven out of ten consumers order their burgers at restaurants rather than preparing them at home and you see why so many creative chefs are offering their own takes on this classic sandwich. At Blackfinn in Addison, TX, for example, the signature Blackfinn Burger is an 8-oz. Black Angus Beef burger topped with BBQ pork, peppered bacon, melted cheddar and caramelized onions.
Making a Splash
With this month's Focus on seafood you'll find casual dining recipes. Here are additional menu suggestions and presentation ideas.
- Seasonal and Regional: At the Coach House in Harbor View Hotel, executive chef Joshua Hollinger serves seared day boat scallops with house-cured bacon, English peas, pearl onions and Miner's lettuce. His cooking focuses on fresh ingredients available at Martha's Vineyard. "With Miner's lettuce only available for about a month each year," he says, "this dish truly exemplifies the beginning of spring and my seasonal approach to cooking." If you're looking for a substitute for the lettuce, Hollinger recommends using 8 baby leeks, thinly sliced.
- Really Stacked Up: Presentation and eye-appeal help promote a dish. At The Marine Room in La Jolla, CA, executive chef Bernard Guillas serves Green Curry Coconut Mexican Braised Shrimp with mochi rice and lemongrass.
- Mixed and Matched: Chef Debbie Gold blends inspirational ideas at 40 Sardines in Overland Park, KS, with offerings such as Seared Sea Scallops with Herbed Spaetzle, Matsutake Mushrooms and Truffled Wisconsin Mascarpone.
- Good things in small packages: At Straits Restaurants (with locations in San Francisco, Burlingame and San Jose), chef Chris Yeo's Origami Sea Bass is an eyecatching presentation, baked in parchment with ginger, mushrooms, rice wine and longan (a tropical fruit).
CRABBY IN THE MORNING: This breakfast specialty features crab cakes, baked ham, eggs, tomatoes, and Hollandaise sauce, served on English muffin halves.
LAYERS OF FLAVOR: Chef John Strohm of Palm Springs Koffi serves this grilled sandwich, a Roast Turkey Panini, with cream cheese, red onion, cranberry sauce and spices.
HOLIDAY ON BREAD: A favorite at Blackfinn Restaurant & Saloon in Addison, TX, is the Thanksgiving Sandwich which offers year-round flavors usually associated with the holiday: Pulled, roasted chicken is served on a Kaiser roll and topped with jalapeno cornbread stuffing and cranberry sauce.
THE PO' BOY LEAVES HOME: Regional classics such as this Catfish Po' Boy take on a fresh accent with the addition of specialty bread, roasted red pepper halves, and Provolone cheese.
SEAFOOD SHOWCASE: Origami Sea Bass (top left), Green Curry Coconut Mexican Braised Shrimp (top right) and Seared Sea Scallops with Herbed Spaetzle, Mushrooms and Truffled Wisconsin Mascarpone (bottom).