The sandwich is the ultimate exercise in edible gestalt: Great vegetables, cheeses, meats, and breads make, in the aggregate, something so much more wonderful than any one ingredient alone. While there’s a time and a place for ten-ingredient Dagwoods and double-decker club sandwiches, there’s a particular magic to be found in the very simplest sandwiches. These nine sandwich variations call for just two ingredients each (plus bread, of course, and the occasional grind of pepper); they are, in our opinion, the very pinnacle of lunchtime perfection.
Sweet, juicy heirloom tomatoes and slices of just-ripe avocado work in perfect harmony no matter what you serve them on, but a slice of seven-grain bread adds a perfect amount of texture and crunch.
Get the recipe for Tomato and Avocado Sandwich »
The New York City restaurant Penelope serves a cult-favorite sandwich called the John Oliver: fresh goat cheese and a generous serving of kalamata olive tapenade together on (yes, really) toasted cranberry walnut bread. It’s an uncanny pairing: sweet, nutty, briny, and creamy all at once.
Get the recipe for Goat Cheese and Olive Tapenade Sandwich »
A dollop of ricotta on earthy-sweet oat bread is delicious; add a drizzle of sourwood honey and it’s elevated to the exquisite. (For a bit of sophisticated heat, top with a sprinkle of freshly-crushed red pepper flakes.)
tres French to pair crisp, spicy radishes with softened, salted butter; a thin-sliced baguette is the perfect vehicle.
Bring out peanut butter’s savory side by topping it with a few strips of smoky bacon—cooked extra-crisp to hold up against sogginess. On hearty whole-wheat bread, it’s the kind of sandwich you may not be able to wait until lunchtime to eat.
Get the recipe for Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwich »
Ham and eggs may be a breakfast classic, but they’re even better for lunch: try sliced or quartered hard-boiled eggs layered with a salty ham and a bit of mayo on a hearty white bread.
Get the recipe for Ham and Hard-Boiled Egg Sandwich »
It’s autumn on a slice of bread: sourdough spread with rich
apple butter, topped with slices of mild smoked gouda and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Get the recipe for Smoked Gouda and Apple Butter Sandwich »
There’s no reason this tried-and-true combination needs to be limited to tea time. Make three or four of these paper-thin preparations of white bread topped with tangy, softened cream cheese and crisp cucumber slices, and call it a lunch.
Get the recipe for Cucumbers and Cream Cheese »
Dense rye bread is the perfect base for a generous smear of not-too-spicy whole-grain mustard topped with thin slices of a sharp cheddar.
Get the recipe for Sharp Cheddar Sandwich »
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