Dissecting a Sandwich

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Is a sandwich really greater than the sum of its parts? Or should it be like a chorus–all the ingredients worthy of a solo? In The New York Times' interactive feature "Build a Better Sandwich," the chefs consulted prove that the process is far more intensive than slapping a slice of turkey and a blob of mayo onto two pieces of rye. It's about prepping each ingredient to perfection, giving each one specialized treatment before piling them up one on top of the other. Whether that means deep-frying the brussels sprouts' petals, simmering the onions, chopping the brisket into precise squares, or crumbling up chicken skins to add a bit of crunch, the extra time is what makes the eight featured sandwiches divine. 

Not everyone can afford to spend hours preparing their lunchbox, but even those rushed for time can utilize some of these New York-based chefs and bakers' suggestions. According to Mr. Scheft, the bread baker at Breads Bakery, fresh ingredients—like the vegetables and the bread itself—make all the difference. Marco Canora, the chef at Fifty Paces, notes that leftovers don't have to stay in the bento box. Instead, they can be combined with a few extra ingredients and made into a sandwich.

So take that chili, add a few fresh tomato slices from the farmer's market, lay them out on two lightly toasted slices of bread, and voilà: A sandwich that will make your co-workers jealous.