You may have noticed that we love sandwiches. Classic sandwiches, regional favorites, and state fair creations are our go-to meal for any time and anywhere. We like them grilled, stuffed, open-faced, warm, cold, messy or easy to eat. And one of our old school favorites, on the menu of every diner, mom and pop restaurant, roadhouse and sandwich shop, is the classic club sandwich.
What's not to like? The bread is toasted, the mayo is tangy, the lettuce is crisp and, best of all, there's bacon involved. It's a triple-decker sandwich that eats like a whole meal in a handheld package, but give us a pickle spear and some fries on the side and we're even happier. If you're not familiar with this classic, let us walk you through the goodness, including our best technique on how to make a club sandwich.
What is a Club Sandwich?
Basically, a club sandwich is a layered sandwich that uses three slices of bread to create a tower of lettuce, tomato, and meat. Typically, they use white bread, but you can use whole wheat bread if you prefer. The meat is chicken or turkey breast and bacon, and though apparently the original version didn't use cheese, many folks add it to their club sandwich these days. Some people say the lettuce is negotiable, but tomato and mayonnaise is a must.
Club sandwiches are also known for the way they are cut into diamonds and served with toothpicks.
How Did It Get The Name, Club Sandwich?
Saratoga Springs is a lovely town in upstate New York, famous for its hot springs, horse racing, and a pivotal Revolutionary War battle. It also claims to be the home of the club sandwich. The story goes that the sandwich was first made in 1894 at the Saratoga Club House, a famed gambling parlor, by either the chef or the club's owner.
According to The Kitchn, though, a club sandwich recipe appeared in a book titled "Sandwiches" that same year. But even earlier, in 1889, two newspapers reviewed the Union Club sandwich, which could be found at the Union Club in New York City and was "Two toasted slices of Graham bread, with a layer of turkey or chicken and ham between them, served warm."
Regardless of whether it was New York City or upstate, it seems like New York can claim responsibility for the creation of the club sandwich.
How to Make a Club Sandwich at Home
This sandwich is simple, so you need the best ingredients. Good sandwich bread, high-quality deli meat, fresh tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and excellent bacon are all critical to a truly good club sandwich. You don't really need a club sandwich recipe, so much as a guide on how to build the sandwich so that it's warm and crispy when you eat it.
First, fry two or three slices of bacon, then let the bacon drain on paper towels. While the bacon is frying, slice a fresh tomato and wash and dry a few lettuce leaves. Iceberg, romaine, bibb, or other types of leaf lettuce are best here.
Next, toast three slices of bread. The bread should be lightly toasted, meaning crisp, slightly golden brown and warm.
Now it's time to assemble the sandwich. Spread mayonnaise to one slice of bread, then add a lettuce leaf or two. On top of the lettuce, add the deli turkey or chicken, then top that with tomato slices. The final ingredient on this layer is a slice of cheddar cheese.
Next, spread mayo on both sides of the second slice of bread. Stack that slice on top of the tomato then lay the bacon across it. Add another layer of lettuce, meat, and tomato.
Spread mayo on the third piece of bread and top off your sandwich stack.
Take a chef's knife and cut carefully through the sandwich along the diagonals. You'll end up with four little triangles of a sandwich. Stick toothpicks through each section to hold everything together.
You can add twists to how you make a club sandwich, like avocado slices or pickles, or you can skip the cheese, or you can swap deli ham in for the turkey or chicken. Using bacon, mayo and toasting the bread is non-negotiable, though; if you don't have those components, it's not a club sandwich.