The club sandwich is a tall wonder containing turkey (sometimes chicken), lettuce, tomato, bacon, and no less than three slices of bread, all cut into quarters and secured with frilly toothpicks. I was so ready to have a gleeful romp with the American classic that I even bought the special toothpicks and a bag of chips to dump in the middle. You can't imagine my high spirit as I sat down to this light dinner.
Nowadays the sandwich is bastardized because it is usually made as a three-decker, which is not authentic (whoever started that horror should be forced to eat three-deckers three times a day the rest of his life)...
— James Beard on the club sandwich, taken from James Beard's American Cookery.
So I really hate to be a downer here, but there is an enormous flaw with the club sandwich, so monumental it ruins the whole experience. The third slice of bread. James Beard was right. The middle slice throws the whole thing off, turning it into an overly starchy, mess. Of course, this can all be solved by removing the extraneous slice but then it just doesn't feel the same, now does it? Does anyone share my anti-third-slice sentiments?
- serves 2 -
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking (1997 Edition).
6 slices white bread, toasted 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 4 leaves lettuce (bibb, Boston, or iceberg) 4 ounces thinly sliced turkey or chicken lunchmeat 1/2 tomato, sliced thinly 4 slices bacon Salt and pepper
1. Spread the mayonnaise on one side of each slice of toasted bread. On two of the slices of bread, add a piece of lettuce to each and divide the meat between the two. Top each with another slice of bread, mayonnaise side up.
2. Top each of the two sandwiches with another piece of lettuce, a few slices of tomato, and the bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cap off each sandwich with a final slice of bread, mayonnaise side down.
3. Slice the sandwich diagonally into quarters. Secure each quarter with a toothpick.