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story.lead_photo.caption Double Mango Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post

The greatest thing since sliced bread.

We've all heard and probably used the famous adage, and as transformative as that innovation was, to me it leaves out half (at least) of the equation — that is, everything that goes between those slices.

Yes, I'm talking about the sandwich. Without the filling, all you have with sliced bread is ... thinner bread.

There are about as many reasons to love sandwiches as there are ways to make them. They're portable and you can eat them with your hands. They're fast, easy and cheap to make.

But first, a few sandwich best practices:

■ Don't overstuff. Sure, you can put anything in a sandwich. That doesn't mean you should put everything in a sandwich. Being judicious with your filling means you can focus on a few quality ingredients. Plus, the sandwich will stand a chance of actually holding together.

■ Incorporate flavors in high-impact, low-volume ways. There are plenty of strategies for increasing flavor without making your sandwich heftier. Whip up a flavored mayonnaise (call it an aioli, if you like) by doctoring it with Sriracha, chipotle peppers, citrus zest and more. Incorporate a spice blend into yogurt. Repurpose bacon fat for toasting bread. You might be surprised how creative — and thrifty — you can be.

■ Aim for a mix of textures. It's just as important as the right balance of flavors. Choose elements across a few categories, including creamy, crunchy, crispy, saucy and soft.

■ Protect the bread. Insulate the bread when using wet fillings, or at least wait to assemble until you're ready to eat. Something fatty (butter, mayo) or a slice of cheese can do the trick. So does toasting the sides of the bread that will face the inside of the sandwich. This also gives your teeth something soft to sink into first.

A double dose of mango — fresh and chutney — goes into this aromatic salad inspired by Washington chef Scott Drewno. My version is based on a yogurt dressing reminiscent of a tandoori marinade. There's no need to cook a chicken unless you want to, because this is the perfect use for a store-bought rotisserie bird.

This recipe scales up easily if you want to make enough chicken salad for a few days.

Double Mango Curry Chicken Salad

3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

½ teaspoon curry powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

Squeeze fresh lemon juice

Pinch kosher salt

Pinch sugar

3 to 4 ounces cooked chicken, torn into 1- to 2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon chunky mango chutney, such as Major Grey's

1 tablespoon toasted slivered almonds (see note)

2 tablespoons diced mango

2 or 3 leaves butter lettuce

2 slices challah or desired sandwich bread

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, curry powder, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and sugar. Stir in the chicken, chutney, almonds and diced mango. Lay a lettuce leaf on each slice of bread. Pile the chicken salad on top of the lettuce in between the slices of challah.

Makes 1 sandwich.

Note: Toast the almonds in a small dry skillet over medium heat, tossing frequently, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

Variations

Use cucumber instead of mango. Opt for another kind of nut. Change the flavor profile with a different spice blend. Try in a wrap or pita.

Nutrition information: Each sandwich contains approximately 720 calories, 38 g protein, 33 g fat, 66 g carbohydrate (17 g sugar), 80 mg cholesterol, 680 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 4.5.

Food on 09/25/2019

Print Headline: Sandwichology: Mind your stuffing, protect the bread

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