It’s hot. Just the thought of turning on the stove creates a light sheen of sweat on your upper brow, nevermind the idea of pulling on a pair of dish gloves, turning the faucet to hot, and scrubbing a sauce-slicked pot clean. Did we mention that it’s hot? In other words, it’s Sandwich Season — and to break out of any potential PB&J ruts, find some inspiration below.
Sabich: I had my first sabich probably a decade ago, and have been chasing this deeply perfect creation ever since. A pita stuffed with fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, Israeli salad, various condiments, and a drizzle of tahini sauce, the sandwich is widely credited to Iraqi Jews who came to Israel as refugees in the 1940s and ’50s. In this country, it’s typically found in falafel shops, though not nearly often enough. To bite into one is to experience the kind of intense pleasure often denied to vegetarians at sandwich shops, and to understand that eggplant, when it’s prepared correctly, can be the stuff of decadence. Given this, and the relative dearth of places that sell sabich, I’m grateful for Adeena Sussman’s recipe, which is particularly good now, when eggplant season is in high gear. — Rebecca Flint Marx, senior editor
Stonefruit Sandwich: If it’s too hot to cook, it’s likely also the perfect season for stone fruit. I’m a loyal member of team nectarine (I like my foods fuzz-free, thank you), but when at their peak, peaches, apricots, cherries, pluots and the like are all exceptional, and I consider it my civic duty to consume as many of each as possible every day. Enter this sweet/savory lunchtime stack: A sturdy bread — think a ciabatta roll or hefty sourdough — is the vehicle for a thick slather of full-fat ricotta, layers of sliced stone fruits, some fresh herbs (I’m partial to tarragon here), chunky salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. As a sandwich, it’s an “eat over the sink” kind of event, as any good stone fruit should be. — Lesley Suter, travel editor
Strogie Hoagies: I have to be upfront about something: Rachael Ray calls these sandwiches “strogie hoagies,” which is a crime that probably should result in elimination from this list. But here’s the thing, after having made these sandwiches regularly for the past dozen years or so: A) These sandwiches are delicious. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for a blistering summer day, but the combination of saucy stroganoff, fresh and peppery watercress, and a fluffy baguette is enjoyable enough that I’m surprised more restaurants haven’t attempted a mash-up like this. Plus the recipe for the stroganoff itself stands alone as a solid, quick-hit version of the classic. B) Ray’s inspired my husband to mockingly first call these Stro Hos, and later Stroganoff Hoganoffs, so the general ridiculousness surrounding the name means you, too, can invent dumb inside jokes with your significant other about these sandwiches. It’s a win/win, really. — Missy Frederick, cities director
Veggie Sandwich With Sprouts and Hummus: I’m a big fan of lighter veggie sandwiches — if I’m going to have something meaty or fishy, it will probably be an open-faced deal. My standard is alfalfa sprouts, hummus, and mashed avocado, optionally upgraded with leafy greens, pickled vegetables, hard-boiled egg, and/or seasonings (za’atar, tajín, etc) depending on what I have on hand. With the double spreads it’s definitely in the realm of gooey sandwiches a la PB&J, but very texturally satisfying with the crunch of the sprouts. — Nick Mancall-Bitel, associate editor
Turkey and Seasoned Cream Cheese Sandwich: I have a special place in my heart for a turkey and cream cheese sandwich, because it reminds me of “tea” parties (read: orange-soda-in-teacup parties) from when I was a kid, usually spent with my grandmother and a who’s who of my stuffed animals. As an adult, I give it a little upgrade: Mixing any seasoning blend or condiment into cream cheese makes it feel a little fancier. These days, I’ve been making a spread with equal parts harissa and cream cheese, pairing it with turkey, sliced cucumber and radish, and just a swipe of dijon. It comes together in a few minutes, and it’s super, super tasty. You can also do this with things like sambal, everything but the bagel seasoning, or pomegranate molasses. — Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Eater PDX editor
Instant Pot Italian Beef Sandwich: This recipe from Pinch of Yum calls for beef chuck, garlic, onion, beef broth, and Italian seasoning to be thrown right into the pressure cooker, but I tweaked it a bit by sauteing the garlic and onions using the machine’s saute function before adding everything else. I also subbed jarred pepperoncini for the Giardiniera, and added an extra cup of beef broth than the recipe called for to ensure there was plenty of rich jus to dunk these babies in after the rolls were toasted, cheese melted, and the sandwiches were stuffed with as much tender, juicy meat as they could hold. A bonus I didn’t anticipate: The leftovers made for excellent next-day work-from-home lunches. — Terri Ciccone, Eater audience development manager
Cheddar and Mayo Sandwich: The name of this sandwich pretty much says it all, but let me try to explain: This is a cherished family recipe. Or, it is something my dad ate when I was little, and that I thought was really disgusting at the time. But reader, it turns out there is nothing better than a slice of whole grain soft bread slathered with mayonnaise (Hellmann’s please, this is no time to get fancy!!), stacked with thick-ish slices of mild-to-medium cheddar cheese (my dad would use sharp, but I hate it), and smooshed shut with another slice of mayo-slicked bread. I was wrong, my dad was right, and we should be eating this perfectly simple sandwich all summer. Really, we should be eating it all year, since it doesn’t call for a single fresh vegetable. Genius. — Elazar Sontag, staff writer