As I may have mentioned before, my mother was a professional cook. Because she worked for a non-profit organization, she had to balance the cost of her food with the price charged for the meals. No profit, but, more importantly, no loss. It was a challenge, needless to say, especially with not a few people showing up sans reservations, and requesting substitutions, special requests, etc. She managed somehow, all the while keeping a smile on her face to her customers, employees, and bosses.
One of the stand-by meals she had always on the ready to accomodate those who did not want the meal of the day, was her hidden sandwich. The ingredients were usually on hand, the dish allowed substitutions here and there, and was fresh and attractive as well as tasty.
I thought of it the other day when I was contemplating various dishes to serve two of my friends who were coming to lunch on a hot summer day. I didn’t want to make the house any hotter, so my mind went to cold plates and out of the blue, I decided to fix hidden sandwiches.
You can prepare them a little bit ahead of time, store them in the frig if you have enough room and then dress them at the last minute. Very convenient.
Here’s the scoop: take a plate, put a slice of buttered bread on it, add whatever thinly sliced meat you want (I used ham and turkey), add a slice or two of cheese (I used colby), a slice or two of tomato, cover the whole thing with lettuce torn in small pieces, cucumber slices, or whatever other garnishes you may want. Top it just before serving with a healthy dollop of thousand island dressing and there you have it. You can vary the dressing – using blue cheese with a wedge of avocado would give you a hidden Cobb sandwich.
It’s really a chef salad presented differently, with a slice of bread instead of some restaurant’s standard packaged crackers or basket of rolls.
The garnishes I used were radish slices, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes (I did not have slicing tomatoes on hand), and shredded Swiss cheese. You can use whatever you want.