Food critic: Five sandwiches that will take hunger away

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March 8, 2012, 9:43 p.m. | Food & Nightclubs — by Olga Rudenko
Sandwiches are the new meals of the office world. And, although there is nothing particularly wrong with the good old bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich, or even occasional hot dogs and hamburgers, the world’s cooking tradition offers a universe of sandwiches that you might like instead. The Kyiv Post has picked out five tasty alternatives to your regular boring sub. Please note that the calories and prices are calculated approximately, based on prices of foods bought from Auchan, with hamburger-style imported rolls used as a base – unless the recipe says otherwise.


This piece of Mediterranean cuisine is known as a usual snack that fishermen from Nice, France, used to take when departing to the sea. It’s basically a Nicoise salad packed into a roll to make a tasty and healthy takeaway food.

Recipe. Split a roll in half lengthwise. Sprinkle both pieces with olive oil. Arrange some tuna fish (canned tuna is fine, as long as it’s drained), black olives and pieces of boiled egg in layers on one half. Add vegetables to taste – lettuce, bell peppers or tomatoes will do nicely. Replace the top part of the roll.

The combination of tuna fish and olives is peculiar, not everyone will like it. Despite the fact that I do, the pan-bagnat will not become an everyday meal for me. This sandwich is meant to diversify your menu and tame your hunger slowly and lightly.
What I like best in the pan-bagnat is the light taste of olive oil. And the fact that this sandwich tastes better the next day.


Taco comes in a myriad of shapes and tastes. The stuffing can be made out of anything, and the only rule is to wrap it up into a tortilla, a Mexican corn flatbread.

Recipe. Mince or chop beef very finely and pan roast it. Just before the meat is ready, add some onions and bell pepper to it. Spread the mixture on the tortilla (mine was locally made), and add fresh lettuce and tomatoes. You can add spice at any stage, by throwing chili or Tabasco into the mix. Roll up carefully.

Taco’s best feature is nutritiousness. Making it on your own means that you will be able to find the perfect proportion of meat to vegetables. But the most essential part is bread. I used a Ukrainian-made bread called Mexican tortilla bread, but it was too dry and stiff, and broke when I rolled it. Real tacos are hard to find and expensive, but the local flat bread, lavash, is a ubiquitous alternative.


An Uruguayan special, chivito is even more substantial than a taco. Actually, it is more like a full dinner than a simple snack, and a great comfort food.

The recipe goes as follows: fry up a steak and an egg. Cut a roll lengthways and top one side with some cheese, ham, lettuce, tomatoes and onion. Cover with another half, add bacon if you wish.

You don’t want to touch or even look at the chivito if you’re weight conscious. But if you’re always hungry, the chivito may be your best friend. Its rich ingredients blend into one savory taste, making you feel like you’re eating something homogenous and filling rather than a multi-layered sandwich. To my taste, the chivito lacks veg. It’s also quite labor consuming.

Croque-monsieur and croque-madame

This hot sandwich of French origin has many variations. Here is the basic one.

Recipe. Take two slices of sliced bread for toasting and spread butter on both. Some recipes call for mustard at this point as well. Place ham and cheese between pieces, press firmly together. Fry or grill the sandwich on both sides for about three minutes. Place a fried egg on top to make a croque-madame, as if it’s a hat. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can play with bechamel sauce that many recipes call for to soak the sandwich.

Risking to be accused of androphobia, I dare to say that croque-madame, the “female” version of this sandwich, tastes much better. Egg must be fried lightly, then it will add essential softness to this crispy sandwich. A single croque-monsieur isn’t much, you will need at least two to keep hunger at bay.

Ham and mozzarella panini

This Italian sandwich is quick to make and is super delicious.

Recipe. Take a small ciabatta or a ciabatta baguette, cut lengthways. Add two slices of ham, chopped tomatoes and mozzarella. Throw in some basil leaves. Grill on a frying pan for about three minutes, pressing down hard.

This is my personal favorite of the lot. The panini combines all the virtues of the other sandwiches, being nourishing and interesting, without heaviness or weirdness. Although recipes call for a ciabatta as the base for his sandwich, it can be made using a less noble roll.
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