How you feel about Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book depends on how you feel about sandwiches. If you see sammies as a fast dinner option on a busy night, then this is not the book for you. But if you prefer to elevate your humble sandwich with gourmet ingredients, then you should give Silverton's book a shot. As she writes in the intro, "Don't look at them as complicated sandwiches, but as satisfying entrees on bread."
This cookbook grew out of the Thursday sandwich nights at LA restaurant Campanile, where different twists on classics like the grilled cheese are showcased every week. The 100-plus recipes are divided into eight categories, some more sandwichy than others. For a detailed breakdown,
The recipes fall under various headings: open-faced and closed-faced sandwiches, tea sandwiches, "sort-of sandwiches," bar snacks, sandwich cookies, condiments, and breads. As you can probably guess, Silverton's sandwich philosophy lets cooks choose between complexity and (relative) simplicity.
If you prefer, you can make everything from scratch, right down the homemade hot dog buns and caper onion mayonnaise. Or, to prevent the less fussy sandwiches, such as the pancetta, lettuce, and tomato, from getting too fancy, you can use store-bought aioli and other ready-made ingredients.
Admittedly, even the simpler sandwiches in Silverton's book are way more complicated than your standard PB&J. But combinations like Gorgonzola, radicchio, honey, and walnuts are truly creative, and Silverton always offers substitutions for the more exotic ingredients, such as pequillo peppers, that might be hard to find. As for the labor-intensive individual elements, such as braised artichokes, what the recipes require in extra steps pays off in extra flavor.
Have any of you cooked any sandwiches from this book? Or eaten at the Thursday sandwich nights at Campanile? If so, please share in the comments!