Club Sandwiches – A classic representation of the layered club sandwich, made with turkey, ham, and bacon between slices of toasted white bread.
Today’s recipe is another one that celebrates the food of my childhood. It’s funny how we tend to look back of memories of our childhood more when you start having kids. I’ve been doing that a lot as I watch Lucy grow.
The club sandwich was one of the first “fancy” sandwiches I ever ordered that wasn’t a grilled cheese or a plain ham and cheese. I can’t remember how I first learned about them but I do remember ordering them when we’d get room service at my dad’s hotel during our weekend visits. He’d be on-call at the front desk for the weekend so the family would join him at the hotel for a little staycation. My memories at that hotel are some of my favorite ones throughout my childhood.
And so, today’s recipe is a classic one for club sandwiches. The great thing about sandwiches, however, is that you can make them however you want. So this version is one that I consider simple yet incredible. In fact, after I made these for photographs, I ate club sandwiches all week long!
What is a club sandwich?
The origin of the club sandwich appears to be up for debate but the most I can gather is that it definitely originated in America. I find that to be a pretty cool fun fact, considering many of the foods Americans eat today came to us from other parts of the world.
A club sandwich is almost always served on white bread that’s been toasted. Out of all the components, that and its signature layers tend to be the most consistent. As far as the fillings go, those can vary from restaurant to restaurant. Here are the one’s I tend to see most often:
Sometimes, I’ve seen roast beef in the sandwich or pickles or even Dijon mustard. But the truth is, you really don’t need any fancy ingredients to make this sandwich incredible. It’s just something about the toasted bread with mayo and fresh ingredients that makes it so wonderful.
My version of a club sandwich
When you order a club sandwich at a restaurant, you may get a sandwich that’s half a foot high, with the layers stacked so much that it’s almost impossible to take a bite. For my version, I wanted something more manageable and, well, realistic for enjoying at home.
For my layers, I split them into two halves: (1) meat and cheese and (2) toppings.
For my meat and cheese, I used ham and turkey to keep it simple. For my cheese, I used sharp cheddar so that it stood out. The worst thing you can do is put an ingredient in your club that you can’t even taste. What a waste!
For my toppings, tomato was a no-brainer. Tomato adds a little moisture to this otherwise dry sandwich. When it mixes with the mayo, the flavor just bursts in your mouth. Yum!!
Next, comes the lettuce, which adds some freshness. And finally, the bacon is added for some depth and crunch.
Once the sandwich is assembled, toothpicks or skewers are inserted to hold it all together before the sandwich is cut into half or triangle quarters. I love the look of the triangles, I think because that’s what I remember about the sandwiches growing up. But you can make them into squares, too.
Tips & Tricks
- Don’t underestimate the need for toothpicks for this sandwich. There are many layers to it so the toothpicks are absolutely necessary to keep everything together.
- This is not a sandwich that can be made in advance, at least not while it’s assembled. The tomatoes will drip into the bread and make it soggy and the lettuce will wilt. Also, the toast will soften if refrigerated. If you are serving these for an event and want to save time, you can prepare the bacon, slice the tomatoes and lettuce, and toast the bread ahead of time. No more than an hour before serving, you can assemble the sandwiches.
- 6 slices thin white bread
- 2-4 tablespoons mayo
- 2 slices cheddar cheese
- 6 slices thinly sliced ham
- 6 slices thinly sliced turkey bread
- ½ tomato
- 1 leaf romaine
- 4 strips cooked bacon
- Toast all 6 slices of bread so they are lightly golden brown. Spread one slice with a thin layer of mayo. Fold 3 slices of ham so they fit within the slice of bread and don't hang over the edges. Top with 3 slices of turkey, also making sure none hangs over the edge. Top with 1 slice of cheddar cheese.
- Take another slice of toasted bread and spread mayo on one side. Place the toasted bread on top of the slice of cheddar cheese, mayo side down. Spread a little more mayo on the top side of the toasted bread. Add a thin slice of tomato on top, follow by a piece of the romaine leaf and the two strips of bacon.
- Top the bacon with the final slice of toasted bread. Cut sandwich in half or into quarters. Traditionally, club sandwiches are cut into 4 triangle wedges but I also like cutting them into squares. Use toothpicks or small wooden skewers to keep the sandwich from falling apart. Serve immediately.