Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dutch Sandwiches

Toasted artisan bread spread with garlic mayonnaise then topped with grilled chicken and tomatoes makes a lovely lunch. 

Long ago, in an era we call BC (Before Children) we lived in Abu Dhabi and I worked at the InterContinental Hotel. My boss was head of marketing and I was in charge of Public Relations, which meant I entertained the journalists who came to see a performance at the hotel, or attend a restaurant opening, and I produced our in-house brochures and newsletter, among other tasks. I got along well with my boss and his wife, a Dutch couple of enormous height with an equally large sense of humor. Aside from me, all the executive staff lived in the hotel. (As I already had accommodation through my husband's company, I opted for a transportation allowance instead.)

One day they invited me to their hotel apartment for sandwiches. Much to my surprise, they brought out bread with ham and cheese on top. Apparently, in the Netherlands, all sandwiches were open-faced. And there I was thinking that a sandwich was a sandwich all over the world. From them, I also learned that the Dutch kiss three times upon meeting. Left cheek, right cheek, left cheek or the other way around. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s three times. Both lessons have stood me in good stead in the years since.

Here, then, I offer you, my Dutch sandwiches:

1 very small clove of garlic, minced finely
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 grilled chicken breast (Those of you who read Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken might have been wondering what happened to the third breast. Here it is.)
1 tomato
6 slices of artisan wholegrain bread

Add the lemon juice to the minced garlic in a small bowl. The lemon juice will reduce the sharpness and pungency of the fresh garlic so leave it to steep for at least five minutes before adding the mayonnaise and mixing thoroughly.

Meanwhile toast your wholegrain bread slices, slice your chicken breast and your tomato.

Add a nice spread of the garlic mayo to each golden slice. Top with chicken and then tomato. Finish it off with a good grind of fresh black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt, if desired.

1. Garlic mayo 2. Grilled chicken 3. Tomato slices

Best served with a glass of crisp white wine and eaten while watching England trounce poor Romania in the Rugby World Cup. I wonder how many times the Romanians kiss upon meeting. They could sure use some love right now.


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