Andy Yates runs Where the Monkey Sleeps, “the most metal sandwich shop in Glasgow.” His clientele is largely folk coming in for their lunch, but bands like Anthrax are also fans, and he has the bathroom-wall autographs to prove it. Beyond his taste for hardcore thrash metal, Yates is also a sandwich connoisseur, and has gracefully agreed to share the delicious knowledge with GUM.
Can I get good ingredients at the supermarket?
You don’t have to be all organic all the time. A dedicated baker (not Greggs or its ilk), a deli, a butcher, or cheesemonger is always superior to a supermarket by far. But it depends how lazy or keen you are to shop around and how much money you’ve got to spend. Budget rules as much as palate.
There’s so much bread out there – how can I choose the right one?
The bread acts like the cover of a book: it attracts, contains, protects and enhances. Different breads are suited to different fillings. Crusty bread is great, but too hard and it squirts out the filling. Basically, don’t use a baguette for egg mayo. Heavily flavoured breads like rye can overpower less intense fillings, so use strong ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, pastrami, and mustard. What’s the worst bread? Cheap sliced white. The bread has to taste of more than just dough.
Moving on to fillings. Thin or thick slices?
Too thick and it becomes too chewy. The thicker the meat the better quality it must be. If the meat is too wafer thin, it does not have the necessary presence.
Next up: cheese.
Always veer towards the more mature end of the cheese market as these have infinitely more presence and stand up to meats and condiments. Mature cheddar is a firm favourite as is a rich, winey gorgonzola. Avoid the mild, tasteless rubbery numbers: they’re just not worth the jaw effort. Texture is also crucial: mozzarella is more of a texture than a taste. But parmesan does not melt well, and mozzarella does.
So how do you make a good vegetarian sandwich?
Put meat into it.
As for salad, can I just chuck any greens on there?
Remember that salad has a purpose: sometimes it’s aesthetics as much as flavour. Before you eat, you eat with your eyes. Use lollo rosso or radicchio for colour; cos or endive for crunch; rocket, spinach and basil for extra flavour. As for tomatoes, sunblush or cherry tomatoes are the best, vine tomatoes otherwise. But remember to never toast lettuce or watery salad! Add it after toasting.
Finally, sauces. Surely there’s more to life than butter?
Butter has its moments, as does mayo. Flavoured oils also work well, and a bit of lemon juice and balsamic vinegar can really lift up tough bread. Remember why you’re using sauce: to add flavour, but also to change the texture. Don’t walk down the sludgy road to a swamp.
What equipment is absolutely necessary for the aspiring sandwich connoisseur?
A sharp knife, and concepts.
Can anyone learn to be a sandwich connoisseur?
Be inventive, but within reason. Have a concept and build upon that. All my sandwiches are named after concepts. I often go geographical, like Mediterranean (Child of the Goat) or Mexican (Firewalker). But most of my sandwiches are named after people, bands, or even films (Man from Iran, Witchfynder, Meat for the Beast). Anything can be a concept. Heavy metal songs work well.