April is Homegrown Month at Tasting Table.
When we first encountered April Bloomfield's salad sandwich (see the recipe), our first thought was: Why isn't this already a thing? The formula is so straightforward—tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, lettuce and eggs stacked between slices of white bread—but it's all in the nuance.
Not only that, but the sandwich, from Bloomfield's newest cookbook, A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden ($35, Ecco), gets us all off the hook of the crushing angst of the lunch conundrum: Responsible salad or hearty, bread-swaddled sandwich?
Yes, it's that April Bloomfield, chef of The Spotted Pig (and others), author of A Girl and Her Pig (with a cover shot of her draping a pig over her shoulders)—yet there is nary a spot of pork in that recipe. Others, sure; slim strips of lardo turn sliced creamer potatoes into crunchy hasselbacks, and broccoli with bacon is, as you can probably guess, not quite suitable for vegetarians. Bloomfield hasn't renounced her nose-to-tail roots in favor of an all-plant-based regimen, but the focus of this new collection, co-written with JJ Goode, is vegetables in all their simple, seasonal glory. Like, for instance, roasted whole Tokyo turnips, Swiss chard (leaves and stems) with marjoram, or bean and mushroom salad.
And, yes, that salad sandwich. This warm-weather favorite of the Bloomfield clan is an excellent solution for midday-meal ambiguity and something of a point of nostalgia for the British-born chef. "I'm not sure if others [in England] ate them, but my family used to eat them all the time in the summer," she says. "I used to play a lot in the garden making mud pies while my mom would be tanning in a bikini. Tiring myself out playing around in the sun was the perfect setup to enjoy a cool, crunchy salad sandwich."
But it's not just the contents of your crisper, slapped between two bread slices. The tomatoes, onions and cucumbers get a double-sided rub of lemon juice, salt and oil, while the eggs are gently cooked until the yolks are just slightly oozy. Room-temperature ingredients are fine, but Bloomfield relishes a contrast.
"It is so refreshing when it's nice and chilled. I so enjoy crunching into a salad sandwich on a hot summer day when it is slathered with butter and salad cream," she says. And, ohhhh . . . that salad cream. Bloomfield suggests you take the time to craft a from-scratch version of the British staple she says is akin to "white ketchup."
RELATED DIY Kitchen Staples »
"It's made with eggs and cream, so it's super creamy, along with red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard, so it's quite tangy as well," she says. And it's the element that elevates the dish from an austere vegetable sandwich to a satisfying lunchtime entrée that could easily become a habit. Or even dinner.
Though the hybrid 'wich may or may not become the next Cronut (maybe it just needs a catchier name like the "sladwich"?), Bloomfield hints that it just might show up on one of her lunch menus soon. (OK, The Breslin. You're welcome.)
Can this sandwich really stack up to your lunchtime dreams? Only one way to find out.
Please check your inbox to verify your email address.