Club Sandwiches - A Brief Dissertation

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Jul 26, 2021
2,129
8,805
Metro-Detroit
For those looking to try or recreate a muffaletta, Aldi (and other grocers) have gardenia mixtures (think pickled onions, cauliflower, carrots, and red peppers). I add some olives (and maybe some capers or a little red wine vinegar) to the mix with a pinch of sugar to make the olive salad.

Then I make indentations in both sides of the bread to hold the olive salad, top with provolone to keep the olive salad in place. Then layer with salami, ham, and bologna. I let the sandwich sit in the fridge a few hours or overnight to let the flavors marry. Then eat hot or cold.
 

Merton

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 8, 2020
934
2,488
Boston, Massachusetts
I enjoy a good club sandwich. That's typically what I'll order if it's on the menu at any restaurant or pub I've never been to before. I've found the quality of the club sandwich to be a pretty good indicator of overall food quality. I also usually order a club whenever we play a gig, because I can eat half before the gig and then finish the rest later during a break or after the gig, when I'm always hungry. Since the club is a cold sandwich to start with, no worries about it getting cold during the gig.

Needless to say I consider myself a club aficionado and I have some strong opinions on what makes a club a club. Here are some requirements that I consider a starting point for a proper club sandwich.

Three slices of bread. This is really a defining feature of a club sandwich. Nevertheless, I've been served "club sandwiches" with only two slices of bread. Unacceptable

Ham, turkey, and bacon. All three are required. Everyone usually gets the bacon in there, but too many places leave out the ham or sometimes the turkey. My local pub only uses turkey and bacon; no bueno.

Two types of cheese. Cheddar and Swiss are typically used, but there should be two types regardless of selection. This is another area where my local pub fails, using only cheddar. The sandwich can still be good with only one type of cheese, but it will be disappointing nonetheless.

Lettuce and tomato. It's not common, but some places will omit the tomato. This really detracts from the sandwich, not just in flavor, but in moisture, which is very important with three slices of bread.

Mayonnaise on both sides of middle bread slice. Insufficient mayonnaise is probably the most common cause of club failure, and will turn an otherwise good club into a dry, unsatisfying sandwich. Failure to apply mayo to the middle slice is usually the culprit. With three slices of bread you simply can't afford to skimp on the mayo. Slather it on thick, one side of the top and bottom slices, both sides of the middle slice.

No mustard. Some people love mustard. I love mustard. Mustard has no place on a club sandwich. It's fine to offer it as an option, but it should never be the default. I've had more than one otherwise good club spoiled this way.

Lightly toasted bread. This isn't a deal breaker, and different people have different tastes as far as toast doneness, but lightly toasted should always be the default. I prefer mine toasted very lightly, and I'd even prefer untoasted over dark toasted.


That pretty much covers the basics. Quantity and quality of ingredients is also very important, of course. A club with skimpy servings of meat is never going to be great, and neither is one with stale bread, wilted lettuce, soggy tomatoes, or hard cheese.

My wife ordered the club at our local pub yesterday despite it's failings. I ate half of it today as leftovers and it was a reminder of why I rarely order it there, and what prompted me to post this dissertation. This weekend I have a gig at a bar that makes a great club, all the basics covered, and lots of fresh ham and turkey, piled high. I'm really looking forward to it.


View attachment 208078
Great summation of a classic sandwich. It is not a club sandwich if it is not lightly toasted.
 
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Briar Tuck

Lifer
Nov 29, 2022
1,109
5,737
Oregon coast
I got my club at the venue last night. I was so looking forward to it and was so hungry that I ate the whole thing before the gig. Sandwich was great, as usual, but I think they forgot to season the potato salad.

398EAD43-9513-4728-ADB4-911A9C3BA5E9.jpeg
 
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