Whether they’re regional specialties or family favorites, sandwiches are well-loved in many sizes, flavors, and forms, and there’s a new book completely devoted to them. The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches is by Susan Russo from Food Blogga, and the photography is by Matt Armendariz from Matt Bites. I’ve known about this book for a while since I had the pleasure of testing a recipe for it, and I recently received a review copy. The sandwiches appear in the book in alphabetical order, and there are options made with waffles, bagels, doughnuts, English muffins, cookies, pound cake, rolls, buns, and many, many different types of bread. There’s also background information on where types of sandwiches originated and suggested alternative fillings in some cases. I was unfamiliar with a few of them like the chow mein sandwich and the chip butty, but there are also well-known favorites like the dagwood, the po’boy, and sliders. There are breakfast sandwiches like the Denver sandwich and the classic breakfast sandwich on an English muffin, there’s dessert with the pound cake sandwich and the ice cream sandwich, and there are classics like the Elvis and the lobster roll. It’s a fun book to peruse for sandwich ideas, and everything is so beautifully presented, I was instantly hungry when I started turning pages. The falafel pitas was my first stop since I can’t resist the mix of crunchy fried patties and cool, crisp toppings.
The sandwich recipe itself is followed by one for quick and easy falafel which involves using canned chickpeas rather than soaked, dried beans. To make the falafel, minced onion and garlic were briefly sauteed before being added to a food processor with rinsed and drained canned chickpeas, chopped parsley and cilantro, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Flour and baking powder were added, and the mixture was pulsed until it formed a paste. Then, balls were shaped from the mixture, they were rolled in sesame seeds, and they were flattened before being fried for a few minutes. I also followed the recipe in the book for tzatziki, and that was a quick mix of diced cucumber, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper, and fresh mint. The sandwiches were built in halved pita with falafel patties, some tahini, chopped lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and tzatziki.
Pita is such a perfect container for a sandwich. In the book, it’s also used for kofta pockets and spiedini pockets. Here, the falafel fit nicely with the toppings and tzatziki, and it’s just enough bread without being too much. The flavors and textures and the hot and the cold made this great. Now, I’m eyeing the toasted chocolate sandwich, or maybe next I should try the torta or the pepper and egg sandwich. With so many good options, I'll being trying lots of different sandwiches soon.