Yesterday, I woke up in New York to a beautiful blue sky and a day filled with fabulous adventure … and sandwiches.
Do you like sandwiches? I do. But not plain, slapped together ones. They need to be built with precision and care. They need to be well-thought out and considered.
So, when the PR team for Hellman’s contacted me about being one of the Club Sandwich bloggers for their new Build the Perfect Sandwich program, I was happy to say yes. Hellman’s is the only mayo I buy, and it’s what I grew up on. That said, I am a little funny about mayonnaise. I don’t like it smeared on a sandwich. But if you mix it up with other ingredients to make an awesome spread, I am all about it.
Yesterday was the big ol’ kick off for Build a Better Sandwich in New York. The Club Sandwich bloggers spent two fabulous days in New York, eating well and picking up some great tips on sandwiches.
The ultimate highlight of the whole thing? Meeting and interviewing Bobby Flay. Oh, yes I did!
In person, Bobby Flay was a lot like the affable man you see on his many shows – funny, charming and filled with fabulous culinary knowledge.
He did a quick sandwich-making demonstration, showing us three sandwiches — including a panini where he spread mayo on the outside of the bread (instead of oil or butter … super interesting). He also shared a tidbit on how to make your sandwiches look amazing when you cut them. Instead of just cutting diagonally, cut them diagonally on a bias (meaning at an angle), so that you can really see exactly what’s inside. A pretty cool idea, right?
Bobby Flay has long been on my short list of people who I really wanted to interview. So, you can imagine how excited I was to have the opportunity to have some one-on-one time with him as well.
I started off with a little story about how his cookbooks have personally impacted my family, and then I asked him about cooking at home (yes, he does cook at home!). Turns out he recently had a dinner party and made paella, tapas, a salad and a coconut cake. Um. YUM.
Flay’s wife, Stephanie March, cooks as well. And when I asked him about her, and he lit right up. It was nothing short of adorable. “She cooks about six dishes that she’s very good at,” Flay said with a smile, describing walking down the hall to their apartment and smelling the aroma of her cooking. “It’s always a nice surprise.”
So, what skills should we home cooks really hone? Here’s what Flay said:
- Knife skills
- How to sauté properly (at high heat with a light oil like canola oil)
- How to season properly
- How to roast
(Sounds like grounds for a great blog series, right?)
Flay also said that if we aren’t using smoked paprika yet, we should be. “The great thing about smoked paprika is that it has a nice heat to it,” said Flay.
As part of the whole experience, I also got to make a delicious sandwich as well. I went with a New Englander. It was turkey, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and cranberry relish mayo on marble rye. So tasty. Unfortunately, I can’t share the recipe for the sandwich I made yet. The cranberry relish mayo that I used on it turned out to be way too complicated for a simple, easy sandwich recipe. So, I am going to work on an equally flavorful alternative that won’t require you to make a whole batch of relish first. Although it was amazing relish.
Look for that recipe soon. Next week, maybe? I’ll also be sharing more from my interview in a few upcoming posts as well.
Bobby Flay’s next book, Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook: Celebrate America’s Great Flavors, will be released in September. Learn more about creating delicious sandwiches and get Bobby Flay’s sandwich recipes on the Build The Perfect Sandwich site. Also, be sure to visit the other Club Sandwich bloggers too.
DISCLOSURE: This post was created as part of my association with the Hellmann’s Club Sandwich Program. I was not compensated for writing this, and any opinions expressed are my own. However, Hellman’s did pay for my transport to and stay during the New York trip. Visit www.facebook.com/Hellmanns to share how you build the perfect sandwich.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.