Julie Lin, owner of Julie’s Kopitiam, Glasgow
This open shrimp sandwich has stuck in my memory since I ate it in Malmö a few years ago. You need a good mayo (enough to cover the shrimp), crisp lettuce, cucumbers, a dash of lemon (add a little zest too), large chopped prawns, and most importantly, dill. Layer on rye bread with walnuts, no need for butter. The dill elevates this dish to a fresh and fragrant level that the rosemary sauce does not quite reach. It is not traditional, but I also like to add capers. The result is a beautiful and spectacular sandwich, perfect to serve with friends. Pair it with a strong black coffee.
Steamed turbot, green sauce and aioli
John Javier, chef of Bar sole, London
This dish is very simple to make. Get a smaller turbot, so the fillets aren’t too thick, and steam for four to five minutes. Steaming, rather than frying, gives fish like turbot a silkier and gelatinous “mouthfeel.” Make a quick salsa verde with two handfuls of parsley, capers, pickles, anchovy fillets, red wine vinegar, two cloves of garlic, and olive oil. Mix, then use to season steamed fish. Grab your brioche bun, I like the ones from St Pierre, and slather both sides with aioli. Add your fish filling and voila. Accompany with a glass of pét nat.
Fish and bread
I was in Istanbul when another chef suggested I try balık ekmek: blackened mackerel on a crispy, buttered, baguette-shaped bun with lettuce and a garnish of pickles. We went down to the river and caught a cooked one from the side of a fishing boat. It was the entire filet, with fish hanging off the edges of the pan, and it was just sensational. You can recreate it by cooking lightly seasoned mackerel on a barbecue and pairing it with tiger bread. You can pickle thinly sliced cucumbers and onions with a mixture of equal parts of water, vinegar and sugar; just pour in and marinate for 10 minutes. It is so simple but the flavor really explodes.
Tuna mayonnaise with sautéed red onion
Pip Lacey, co-owner of I made, London
When I was in my 20s, I worked at a Zizzi’s where they made tuna mayonnaise crostinis with red onion, and it changed my philosophy to tuna sandwiches. The red onion is sautéed and then mixed with canned tuna, mayonnaise, salt and lots of pepper. You can use any bread, just toast it and cover it with butter. I hate cucumber and it always gets into store bought tuna sandwiches. I also love the prawn and mayonnaise sandwiches – use prawns and add cilantro, they are a match made in heaven. It’s a real nostalgic comfort food.
Crab stick roll
Jackson Berg, Co-Founder and Chef de Barletta at Turner Contemporary, Margate
This sandwich consists of crab sticks, chipotle mayo, and shallots combined on a brioche sausage bun. You can also cook mussels and add them too, along with chives and coriander. If you can’t get chipotle, you can mix Tabasco or harissa with mayo. I first made it as a “dirty sandwich” at one of my previous restaurants and it turned out to be a huge crowd pleaser. It is best paired with a black velvet cocktail (champagne and Guinness).
Arugula, Parmesan and Anchovies
Leandro Carreira, Executive Chef of The sea, the sea, London
Crush wild arugula and Parmesan with a mortar, as if you were making a pesto, then spread a slice of sourdough or white bread. Cover the other slice with chunks of raw, unpasteurized butter; it is much tastier than regular butter. Then fill your sandwich with anchovies – I recommend Yurrita “00” anchovy fillets, which are salt-cured but not pressed, so they are still very thick. Conventional anchovies would be too salty and bony. I used at least four, but you can use more, it depends on how much you like anchovies. I love the combination of flavors and it’s so easy to put together.
Smoked eel sandwich
Jamie Barnett, Chef de The Castle Inn, Wiltshire
Take two slices of good old-fashioned barn flower bread and spread them with butter, followed by mayonnaise. Next, mix a tablespoon of fresh cream with lemon juice, chives, parsley, fresh horseradish, and black pepper, keeping it as thick as possible. Pour in a slice and top with mustard greens. Take your eel (I recommend using wood smoked eel), break it up with your fingers and spread it on the bread. Serve with deli-style pickles (the sweet acidity of the pickles cuts through the eel to perfection) and a nice chilled IPA.
Fried oyster po ‘boy
Luke Selby, Chef de Evelyn table, London
Fried and breaded seafood sandwiches like this are traditional in Louisiana, but the idea of an oyster sandwich here is a bit unusual. I like to use good quality, oversized oysters from Dorset. Top with flour, followed by egg, then panko breadcrumbs, then deep-fry before adding a sweet chili sauce. Place inside a brioche bun and serve with ribbons of pickled cucumber and wasabi mayo; you can make your own by mixing wasabi and mayonnaise for a creamy sauce that has a little spiciness. Serve with a beer.
Sole sandwich ‘katsu’
Endo Kazutoshi, Co-Owner and Executive Chef of Endo in the Rotunda, London
Remove the crusts from two slices of white bread, butter both sides and lightly toast. Take the sole fillets, top with egg yolk followed by panko breadcrumbs, then fry in oil, not too hot, until golden brown. Add some tartar sauce and a splash of reduced balsamic vinegar to both pieces of bread. Sandwich the sole between the bread and cut it in two. Top with very thinly sliced zucchini and fennel, as well as a drizzle of high-quality honey to serve.
Grilled sardine open sandwich
Tomos Parry, chef de Golf club, London
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism