How to Make the Perfect Sandwich

How to Make the Perfect Sandwich

This essay, by Jackson DeNichilo, 15, of Fallston, Md., is one of the Top 11 winners of The Learning Network’s new “How To” Informational Writing Contest for Teenagers.

We are publishing the work of all the winners over the next several days, and you can find them here as they post.

“It’s got to be something really unique,” says Ben Gollan, sandwich connoisseur and founder of A Man and His Sandwich, a touring experience where Gollan takes guests throughout New York City in search of the most mouthwatering sandwiches. “It can’t be the same standard thing that we all get so used to,” he says. Constantly eating the same sandwich gets boring, especially for Gollan. Try to put your own twist on a traditional sandwich. Use unorthodox ingredients to help break the mold. You don’t necessarily need rare ingredients; what you need are rare combinations.

When making your sandwich, the number one rule is balance. Avoid adding too much of one certain ingredient. Instead, distribute different types of ingredients throughout the sandwich evenly. Using hot-cold, soft-crunchy, and sweet-sour combinations will benefit you in making a balanced sandwich. Focus on beginning your sandwich’s assembly with the condiments. Pick out your favorite condiments and sauces, then choose your meats based on them. Condiments make the sandwich. “If I ever see a chili jam or a fig jam or something in that world, I know it’s going to be a pretty bangin’ sandwich,” says Gollan.

Try splitting up the sandwich into two levels. Put all the dry ingredients on the bottom half, and the wet ingredients on the top half. This protects the base of the sandwich from the wet ingredients’ juices. Pick breads that add texture and crunch. It is important to ensure your sandwich won’t crumble and fall apart. “If everything is soft and sloppy, it doesn’t matter how good the ingredients are; the sandwich is not going to be great,” Gollan says. Make your sandwich look nice, as making a good first impression with your eyes is important. “You eat with your eyes first,” says Gollan. Cut your sandwich into rectangles for a more visually appealing look, or into triangles if you want to trick your brain into thinking there is more sandwich than there is.

Even after amassing over 14,000 followers on an Instagram account dedicated to reviewing sandwiches, Gollan is still left searching for the perfect sandwich. “I think it gets very, very close to being perfect, but perfection is really hard to attain. I almost don’t want to find the perfect sandwich, because what does that mean for all the other ones that I want to try?” Gollan says.