California Sandwich

What’s for lunch? Today, our month of sandwiches continues with this recipe from Elizabeth of Brooklyn Supper. Tomato, avocado and tangy ranch dressing join forces to create a sandwich that’s pretty much perfect. Here’s how to make one of your own…

California Sandwich (With Homemade Buttermilk Ranch)
by Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper

California, a state I am proud to have grown up in, is a culinary hothouse. Californians were early adopters of the banh mi and inventors of the California roll; they’ll embrace a fusion cuisine made from any two culinary traditions you care to throw together and take full advantage of every fresh local ingredient the fantastic weather will allow.

I like to think this stems from Californians’ willingness to say, “Sure, whatever.” The California sandwich is a perfect example of the beautiful results a chill attitude can yield. There’s no cooking, no fretting about whether something as healthy as alfalfa sprouts belong on a sandwich, and no worrying about whether ranch and multi-grain are a contradiction – just a bunch of great ingredients coming together in a simple, delicious sandwich.

Avocados and their buttery texture are the star, but the bright savory flavor of a perfect summer tomato is a fantastic supporting player. Alfalfa sprouts are healthy, of course, but they also add a little texture – not quite crunchy but close. Monterey Jack adds satisfying cheesiness and its mild flavor is perfect for this subtle sandwich. Finally, a simple ranch dressing is herbaceous and creamy, with plenty of fresh buttermilk tang.

California Sandwich

Recipe: California Sandwich
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices multigrain bread
buttermilk ranch dressing
2-4 slices Monterey Jack cheese
1 large tomato, cored and sliced
1/2 cup sprouts, rinsed well and blotted dry
1 avocado, sliced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Lightly toast the bread. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons chilled buttermilk ranch dressing on each slice of bread. Layer the cheese, tomato, sprouts and avocado slices on top of the bottom piece of bread. Sprinkle avocados with a pinch each of sea salt and black pepper, then add the top piece of bread.

Use a sharp knife to slice sandwiches in half; serve immediately.

California Sandwich

California Sandwich

To make your own homemade buttermilk ranch:

3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp minced red onion
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken vigorously
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp minced parsley
2 tbsp minced chives

In a medium-sized bowl, use a fork to whisk together the mayo, sour cream, mustard, red onion, garlic and zest. Whisking vigorously, gradually add the buttermilk. Add 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice — just enough to thin the dressing. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Finally, fold in the herbs.

Spoon dressing into a container with a tight fitting lid, and set in the fridge to chill for several hours, or preferably overnight. Just before serving, give dressing a good shake.

For the best flavor, make the buttermilk ranch dressing ahead of time and chill – the dressing will thicken up and the flavor will continue to develop overnight. Leftover dressing will keep well in the fridge for up to three days.

California Sandwich

Looks delicious! Thank you so much, Elizabeth!

P.S. More recipes, including easy weeknight spaghetti and homemade Pad Thai.

(Photos and recipe by Elizabeth Stark. This series is edited by Caroline Donofrio.)