Adding trendy food substitutes to the club sandwich is far from a new idea, but since it is so much fun to enhance food and test out new creations I felt compelled to give it a culinary facelift by adding delightful favorites and sharing it with sandwich lovers everywhere. The crunchy and savory club is a century old favorite, and the first original documented recipe for the extraordinary sandwich can be found in the 1903 addition of the Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book even though its accidental beginnings were born several years earlier.
The origin of the club sandwich has been in debate since it first appeared in hotels during the late 1800’s, but New Yorkers like to believe that its humble beginnings first appeared at the Saratoga Club-House. Located in Saratoga Springs, New York; the posh playhouse was an exclusive “gentlemen only” gambling house that featured quick and convenient, but filling meals that could be eaten without utensils so that cards and food could be held simultaneously.
Unlike the original, the traditional triple-decker sandwich is prepared with fresh romaine or iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and turkey or chicken breast, and then layered between toasted bread slathered with mayonnaise. It is then typically quartered and held together with fancy colorful curly-qued frilly toothpicks and complemented with a side of crispy chips or fries. And while I am a fan of traditional cuisine, I am all for adding a twist of flavor to foods that make your taste buds tingle and gives the distinct impression of a flavor burst popping in your mouth.
Food historians have many different notions of what should be on the traditional club sandwich starting with the argument of how many slices of bread go into making it the real deal. It is noted that the first club was made with chicken and not turkey, two slices of toast, not three. And the hungry man that made it was looking for butter to spread on his bread, not mayonnaise, but the latter was all he could muster up in his sparse kitchen pantry. Source: Salads, Sandwiches, and Chafing Dish Recipes by Marion H. Neil circa 1916.
Sandwich lovers can still celebrate the fact that the man in the pantry loved the sandwich so much that he boasted about it, and it quickly caught on and became a club favorite that is enjoyed today by millions of people in diners and at home. It is still typically served in the same ordinary fashion as it was at the turn of the century, with only a slight change from chicken breast to leaner turkey meat, and an additional piece of toast, making it a triple-decker of delight for the palate to savor even more.
According to Dictionary.com, the club is a sandwich also known as a triple-decker or three-decker, and is typically made up of three slices of toast, then interlaid with pieces of cold chicken or turkey and bacon or ham and containing lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, etc.
The Webster Dictionary states that the sandwich was named after the Earl of Sandwich, and defines it as “two or more slices of bread with a filling of meat, fish, cheese, jam, etc., between them…”
Club Sandwich Recipes
Deli Peppered Turkey, Asiago & Artichoke Club
3 slices toasted sourdough bread, cooled
4 slices deli-peppered turkey
2 slices asiago cheese
4 pieces crispy center cut bacon, cooled
1 tbsp Hellman’s or Best Foods real mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh basil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
3 small artichoke hearts, minced
1 Roma tomato, sliced thin
8 fresh raw spinach leaves
In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, mustard, basil, garlic, artichoke hearts and vinegar. Divide the mixture by spreading it onto the 3 pieces of toasted bread, Layer two slices of turkey, one slice of cheese and two slices of bacon on the first slice of bread. Top with second bread slice and repeat layering with the remaining ingredients. Slice into quarters and hold them together with frilly toothpicks.
Spicy Guacamole Club Sandwich
3 slices of toasted bread, cooled
4 slices-peppered deli-turkey
4 slices thick center-cut bacon, cooked until crispy & cooled
2 slices hot-house or steak tomatoes salted & peppered
2 romaine lettuce leaves
1 tbsp Hellman’s or Best Foods Real mayonnaise
1 tbsp prepared spicy guacamole
Spread mayonnaise on the two end bread slices, and then spread 1 tablespoon of the guacamole on the remaining middle slice of bread. Place one lettuce leaf on the bottom piece of bread and then the tomato, two pieces of crispy bacon, and then two pieces of the pepper turkey. Top with middle slice of the toasted guacamole layered bread. Finish the layers by topping with the remaining ingredients. Slice into quarters and hold them together with frilly toothpicks.
Decadent Lobster Club Sandwich
3 slices ciabatta or sourdough bread, toasted
2 slices smoked pancetta or smoked bacon, cooked until crispy & cooled
1/2 cup lobster, chunked or sliced
2 tbsp Hellman’s or Best Foods Real mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1 scallion or green onion finely chopped
2 slices large hot-house tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 slices romaine lettuce
Gently fold together the lobster meat, lemon juice, green onions and half of the mayonnaise in a small mixing bowl. Spread the remaining mayonnaise onto the inner sides of two of the toasted bread ends, layer one lettuce leaf, tomato, pancetta and ½ of the lobster. Spread the middle toasted bread slice with the Dijon mustard. Repeat the layering process with the remaining ingredients. Slice into quarters and hold them together with frilly toothpicks.
Italian Club Sandwich
3 slices Italian Bread, toasted
2 slices deli-peppered turkey breast
2 slices deli hot or sweet Capicola Italian ham
2 slices pancetta cooked until crisp & cooled
1 slice provolone cheese
1 Tbsp prepared pesto
1 Tablespoon Hellman’s or Best Foods Real mayonnaise
2 thick slices Roma tomatoes
2 slices Romaine or Italian red leaf lettuce
Spread mayonnaise on one slice of toasted bread, layer one lettuce leaf, tomato, turkey, ham, pancetta and cheese. Spread the pesto onto the middle piece of toasted bread and finish layering with remaining ingredients. Slice into quarters and hold them together with frilly toothpicks.
Mexican Club Sandwich
3 flour tortillas, slightly toasted on the stove top or on the grill
6 slices thinly cut chicken breast
4 slices center-cut peppered bacon cooked crispy & cooled
2 tbsp Hellman’s or Best Foods Real mayonnaise
1 tbsp cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 chipotle pepper, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 small avocado, sliced thick
1 tomatillo, husk removed, cleaned & sliced thin
4 Romaine lettuce leaves
In a small mixing bowl stir together the mayonnaise, cilantro, garlic, chipotle and cumin. Spread half of the mayonnaise mixture onto one tortilla. Layer the sandwich with the chicken, two bacon slices, half of the avocado slices, half of the tomatillo and two lettuce leaves. Add another tortilla and layer with the remaining ingredients. Top with the third flour tortilla after spreading it with the remaining mayonnaise mixture sandwich side down. Cut into quarters and serve.
The Diet Friendly Turkey Club Sandwich
Source: The Mayo Clinic staff
This healthy recipe is served with calcium rich Swiss cheese, but offers alternatives like Gouda or cheddar. Their dietician’s tip recommends that you serve the sandwich with carrot or celery sticks over the more traditional fatty chips or fries.
2 tbsp fat-free mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
6 slices sourdough bread, toasted
4 ounces cooked natural turkey breast, sliced
3 slices low-sodium bacon
2 bib lettuce leaves
4 slices tomato
2 ounces Swiss cheese
In a small bowl, add the mayonnaise and basil. Stir to mix evenly. Spread 1 teaspoon of the mayonnaise mixture on each slice of bread. Place one slice of bread onto a plate. Top with 1 ounce turkey and 1 1/2 slices bacon. Add another slice of bread, 1 ounce turkey, 1 lettuce leaf, 2 slices tomatoes and 1 ounce cheese. Top with the last slice of bread. Place a toothpick in each half of the sandwich and cut the sandwich in the center. This recipe makes two club sandwiches at 475 calories each.