The sandwich, a staple of my family's diet, is a particularly interesting problem. Were I to open a pictorial culinary dictionary under "S," I'd imagine a photo of bread, meat, tomato, lettuce, mayo. But fresh red tomatoes and leafy green lettuce are anything but in season in Oregon, where I live -- and the vast majority of the U.S. and Europe for the next several months. Because it's easy to find a sustainably-farmed source, we've been eating lots of beef, ham, and crusty local bread, but what else?
I've been able to find lots of delicious, flavorful options utilizing local, organic produce.
Some other options would require either forethought and minor preservation skills; or a farmer/friend/market source. Next winter, I vow my pantry will be stocked!
Winter sandwich toppings for the sustainable eater(click thumbnails to view gallery)
- Caramelized onions/shallots. I sautéed a couple of monstrous shallots I found at the farmer's market on New Year's Eve and served them alongside slices of New York strip steak for make-your-own sandwiches -- no one asked after California tomatoes.
- Goat cheese. All through the winter, goats keep making their delicious, strong-flavored milk, and dairy farmers keep making it into cheese. Especially good with slices of rare beef.
- Winter greens sautéed with garlic. I buy chard and kale in bunches, cook in batches, then freeze whatever I can't eat right away; I always save a cupful for grilled cheese and black forest ham sandwiches, and to throw in quesadillas.
- Roasted peppers. Preserved by canning or freezing, roasted peppers save summer's flavors and are great foils for all kinds of cheese and meats.
- Pickles, all sorts. The poster child for preservation, the pickle is a constant winter sandwich topper. Great on chicken and tuna salad.
- Bechamel sauce. There's a great reason the French (masters of eating with the seasons) love croque-monsieur in the winter.