As a defiant response to sad desk lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty.
Today: Eating sandwiches out of a bowl makes for everything you love about sandwiches, and nothing you don't.
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I'm a huge proponent of grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch—they're easy to eat, seamless to transport, and deliver gooey, carby goodness to you right when you need it most. But not all sandwiches are made alike. Take the meatball sub, for example. Few things are as satisfying for lunch as a hulking sub—but is it worth the effort? Transportation nightmares aside, say you managed to successfully deliver the pasta-sandwich deskside. One bite and you'd be chasing errant meatballs across your keyboard.
So when we received an email from community member, Tim Jacobs, providing a simple, yet brilliant solution, we lit up. His suggestion? Sandwich in a bowl. Instead of coaxing tricky, slippery ingredients between two slices of bread, cut out the middleman and eat your sandwich fixin's from the comfort of a bowl (don't worry, you can still keep the bread):
This steak sandwich is perfect for eating at home, but isn't built for office commutes.
How to do it:
Opt for sandwiches that are packed with "stuff." A grilled cheese (A.K.A., a bowl of cheddar) will not be nearly as exciting as a packed burger or a banh mi (see some options below!).
To assemble the sandwich, layer the sandwich ingredients in a bowl. Feel free to add some extra lettuce or tomatoes if you want to call it a "salad." Also, because you're no longer limited by vertical space, feel free to swap out thin, deli-counter-sliced meats and cheeses for chopped components.
Treat condiments as dressing and dips. Pack the things you would regularly schmear across bread (mayonnaise, mustard) in small separate containers, then use them as dipping sides or pour them over your sandwich bowl when it's time to eat it.
Just because you aren't eating a traditional sandwich doesn't mean you have to cut out the bread (think: panzanella). Slice the bread you would normally use into crouton-sized pieces and toast them before adding them to the bowl. Day-old bread works in your favor here since it can soak up all the goodness of the other ingredients without getting mushy.
To transport your sandwich, put it into an airtight container—and give a moment of silence to all the sandwiches you lost to zipper bags. At lunchtime, simply eat it out of your container or invert it into a bowl and bamboozle curious colleagues with your "sandwich."