Here are a few delicious ideas to upgrade your average weekday pandemic lunch.

Are you swiftly tiring of tuna mayo? Egg and cress day after day beginning to make you feel bilious? As long as we all continue to avoid going to the supermarket any more than we have to, lockdown lunches will have a habit of becoming somewhat repetitive. They need to be quick and easy enough to knock up – without too much mess – while we juggle work and home school; ergo, sandwiches just fit the bill. But not all sandwiches are created equal. Next time you go to stock up on supplies, why not throw a few leftfield ingredients into your trolley so that you may spice up your sandwich game over the next few days? Here are a few delicious ideas for your average weekday pandemic lunch.

Main image: Olive Magazine

Quick and Easy Harissa, Halloumi and Honey Toastie


Olive Magazine


This absolute beauty of a vegetarian lunch comes courtesy of one of our favourites: Sabrina Ghayour, queen of Persian/British cuisine. It is, essentially, a posh take on cheese on toast – but as new twists come, this one is as tasty as it gets. Oozing salty halloumi, delicate rose harissa and drizzling sweet honey to offset it all, the result is pure bliss on a plate. We may have hit sandwich nirvana.

Canned Sardine, Tomato and Caper Sandwiches


Saveur


This simple little sandwich a) packs an intense flavour punch and b) transports us straight to the Mediterranean idylls we’re missing so badly. This is one we’ll be rolling out through the summer months and packing for all our riverside picnics needs. The key is in getting your hands on really good tomatoes – heritage if you can – and then tossing them in with the rest of the ingredients. We would add, if you can do this the day before (or first thing in the morning), the flavours will be all the more intense. As the recipe suggests, not-quite-fresh focaccia gives exactly the right oily but crusty base. Absolutely lovely.

Fishfinger Sandwich With Nordic Dill Salsa


Signe Johansen/ The Guardian


We love it when a childhood classic gets a sophisticated twist. The fishfingers themselves require nothing fancy; you’re basic Bird’s Eye freezer staples will do the job nicely. The bread is entirely up to you; we’d go for something crusty, but if you cleave to the white sliced loaves of youth, that’s absolutely fine too. For the beauty comes in the salsa; using dill, capers, lemon, olive oil, horseradish, parsley and gherkins, it is fresh, tangy and totally transformative. We’d suggest make a good batch to have a couple of days in a row. Indeed, as Signe Johansen suggests, it also works beautifully as salad dressing or on new potatoes.


Grilled Chicken Caesar Sandwiches


Epicurious


Chicken Caesar sandwiches are, rightly, a classic. What we especially love about these ones is the pillowy soft brioche bun base contrasted with the gorgeous crunch of the fennel-basil slaw. The recipe recommends using chicken thighs and deeply charring them in the Worcestershire sauce, garlic, lemon, pepper, mayo and cornichons marinade. The combination of soft bun, charred chicken and crisp fennel is sublime.

Reuben-ish Sandwich


Jamie Oliver


No list of great sandwiches would be complete without a nod to New York, home of the outsized pastrami concoction. This one, which comes courtesy of Jamie Oliver, is super easy and quick. He suggests three slices of pastrami, some lovely Swiss cheese on toasted rye bread, all layered in with gherkins and sauerkraut (the last two friendly ingredients for a happy gut, which even makes it vaguely healthy). But the biggest nod to New York? The fact that it’s so big it needs two sticks to hold it together.


Japanese Style Oyster Po’Boy Sandwiches


Delicious Magazine


Want to add a touch of class to your mid-week sandwich? Why not fry some sustainably caught oysters in panko breadcrumbs and load them into a large baguette? There is some work required – you’ll need to make wasabi mayo and pickle some cucumbers – but once you have them, you can eke this one out over a few very tasty days.

Muffuletta Sandwich


Delicious Magazine


If Jamie’s New York sandwich is too light on the carnivorous stuff for you, then why not give this American classic a go? Hailing from New Orleans, it was created in 1906 at Central Grocery Co on Decatur Street by an Italian immigrant called Salvatore Lupo. It’s the full works: mortadella, salami, sliced coppa, provolone cheese with carrot, cauliflower, onion, celery. One thing’s for certain: no one is going hungry after this bountiful beauty.

The Perfect Croque Monsieur


BBC Good Food


Who doesn’t love a croque monsieur? The Gallic staple is pure comfort food, thanks to the grated gruyere, Dijon mustard, ham and Bechamel sauce. Classic never goes out of style, and a croque monsieur, in our PJs (what? It’s lockdown) on the sofa with a good lunchtime movie will never not be our bag.

By Nancy Alsop
February 2021

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Nancy Alsop

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