No, sometime in the 1700s, John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, England, did not invent the sandwich.
He may have popularized it — that is the lore and hence the name — but foods slapped between two slices of bread (or on top of a single slice) have been favorite finger food for millennia.
By now, sandwiches — especially if you count in hamburgers and hot dogs — have become America’s No. 1 go-to meal. In 2012, the last year it did such a study, the USDA estimated that, each day, close to half of Americans eat one or more sandwiches.
Rankings vary, but among the top five sandwiches eaten in the U.S. are those filled with turkey, ham or chicken meat; the grilled cheese, makeovers of which are very posh nowadays; and peanut butter and jelly, about 1,500 of which an everyday American will have consumed by his or her high school graduation day (and 3,000 by burial day).
We eat close to 200 sandwiches a year per person; the Brits, for whom sandwiches are huge commerce, 150.
I suppose we each are partial to our favorite sandwich. I always choose to make or buy a tuna salad. On a recent trip to be with family in England, however, I tasted the UK’s most popular over-the-counter sandwich, Marks & Spencer’s “prawn mayonnaise,” which would totally eclipse tuna salad as my No. 1 if I could get it over here.
M&S, as its known there, keeps its prawn mayonnaise recipe close to the vest — no surprise — but it has published directions for something like it on its cooking website.
If you wish to get closer to M&S’s “prawn mayonnaise” using the following recipe, pick what they in the UK call a “malted brown bread,” what for us would be a slightly sweet whole wheat or multi-grain bread, and spike the mayonnaise with some freshly cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of a few black mustard seeds.
Do not leave out the lemon juice from the recipe; it’s key. And, given the quantity of the ingredients, this could stand to be either one very large open-faced sandwich to eat with knife and fork, or two smaller two-slice sandwiches held in hand.
In sequence, I guess. Or, maybe, if you’re at it and famished for sandwiches, one in each paw.
Prawn and Egg Open Sandwich
Makes 1, from cookwithmands.com
Ingredients (converted from metric)