If you love cross-back aprons and salt, and you know what a Cae Sal is, odds are you’re a fan of Molly Baz, recipe developer and the author of Cook This Book. Baz is also a sandwich aficionado, and she’s getting ready to share her wisdom with all of us, via The Sandwich Universe, her new podcast with Declan Bond, on the Food52 Podcast Network. We were able to score a little preview of the first few episodes of the pod and find out some of Baz’s thoughts on sandwiches—plus, we’re sharing a killer tuna sandwich recipe from Cook This Book! Who’s ready for lunch?
Fans of Baz know she loves tuna (so much so that she named her dog after it!). Naturally, there’s a tuna sandwich in Cook This Book, but it’s not the tuna salad sandwich you’d find in a lunchbox. Though there is a time and a place for those as well, Baz’s dream tuna sandwich is a bit more exciting. “This was originally destined to be a niçoise salad, my attempt at taking a fresh look at the beloved French classic of tuna, olive, potato, and egg,” writes Baz in the recipe headnote. She swiftly realized she couldn’t improve on something that’s already perfect, so she switched gears: “However, if you take all of those same flavors and rearrange them in the form of a sandwich (sorta à la pan bagnat), then I do have reason to get involved.” And thus, her Niçoise Sando With Smashed Eggs & Black Olive Mayo was born. Spoiler alert: there are potato chips inside.
“For me, the reason the BLT is so special is because you really only eat them during one period of time a year. And that is of course the summertime,” says Baz of the iconic sandwich in the BLT episode of The Sandwich Universe. “Because actually, if you ask me, a BLT is a tomato sandwich with some bacon on it.” Baz also notes that she thinks the BLT is a sandwich best made at home. So why not start with our Bacon Fat BLT, and then expand on the concept of the sandwich—Soup? Salad? We can BLT that.
“This is the sandwich that you make when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands,” says Baz. “And you’re just kind of like, I have cheese. I have bread. There’s some kind of fat lying around, like, let’s make a frickin’ sandwich.” We’re not talking a 30-second sandwich though: as Baz adds, “a great grilled cheese can be achieved in no less than 10 to 12 minutes.” We love a classic diner version, with American cheese and white bread, but why not get a little creative too—add soft scrambled eggs, several types of hard and soft cheeses, or veggies. Heck, why not split a full slab of focaccia in half, fill it with cheese and grill the whole thing? Yes, please!
“I like a PB&J, I don’t love a PB&J. It’s not the first that I reach for when I want to make a sandwich, but I can totally appreciate it. And there’s a time and a place for it,” says Baz. “The last time that I had a PB&J was on a hike with my brother during COVID. It was one of the things that we could actually do safely together…He made us PB&Js, and it was smushy and it was sloppy, but it was also kind of perfect.” You probably don’t need a recipe for a PB&J, but maybe you want to channel PB&J vibes in other treats, like cake, cookies, and pie. We’ve got you.
Which sandwich will you make while listening to The Sandwich Universe podcast? Let us know in the comments!
Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. Her writing has appeared in TASTE, The Strategist, Eater, and Bon Appetit’s Healthyish and Basically. She contributed recipes and words to the book “Breakfast: The Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day.” Once upon a time, she studied theatre design and art history at Smith College, so if you need a last-minute avocado costume or want to talk about Wayne Thiebaud’s cakes, she’s your girl. She tests all recipes with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. You can follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.