Spread the word: Mark Hix celebrates the sandwich with some fillings that really thrill

Our chef marks the start of British Sandwich Week with some adventurous toppings that are a world away from the average high-street sandwich bar.

Mark Hi
Friday 10 May 2013 16:25 BST

We've got a 'week' for every food-stuff and type of drink around these days. You could easily get cynical about such PR efforts, but I actually think this is a great thing. It helps to highlight produce and foods that we may well forget about, or have got bored with, like pies and cocktails – not that you should ever get bored with cocktails.

Tomorrow marks the start of British Sandwich Week, and while I do write about sandwiches every year, there are a hell of a lot of them to make and get inspired about. You can be adventurous too, finding variations that you won't get in your high-street sandwich bar. You can really have a lot of fun with sandwiches: the options for fillings are neverending and you can tailor them according to what's in season.

Fillet of lamb with crushed minted peas

Serves 2

This makes good use of the tiny lamb pencil fillets from under the saddle, which you can buy at good butchers or supermarkets.

2 lamb pencil fillets
A little vegetable or corn oil for frying
120g podded weight of fresh or frozen peas
A handful of mint leaves
A good knob of butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A handful of pea shoots
2 slices of sourdough or bloomer bread
1tbsp olive or rapeseed oil

Put the peas in a saucepan, cover with water and cook for 6-7 minutes until tender, add the mint leaves, simmer for another minute, then drain. Coarsely blend them in a food processor with the butter, then season to taste and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the lamb fillets for 2-3 minutes, keeping them nice and pink.

Toast the bread on both sides then spoon on the crushed peas. Next, slice the lamb fillets and place them on top, along with the pea shoots; spoon over some olive oil.

Roasted peppers with goat's cheese and capers

Serves 2

This is a nice colourful sandwich that can be served as a snack or as a dinner-party starter.

2 red peppers
50g very soft goat's cheese or goat's curd
2 slices of sourdough
½tbsp capers
1 tbsp olive oil
A few sprigs of bush basil or basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a grill to maximum temperature. Halve the peppers, lay them on a baking tray, skin side up, and grill until the skins are black; then transfer to a bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave for 10 minutes. Removef the skin and any seeds and stalks.

Grill the bread on both sides and brush with olive oil. Arrange the peppers on the bread, then break the goat's cheese into small pieces on top of that. Scatter over the capers and basil, season and spoon over a little more olive oil.

White asparagus, ham and Emmental sandwich

Serves 2

For years and years I've wondered why us Brits don't grow white asparagus – if they can grow it in Europe why the heck can't we? Well, last week my question was answered when a few bunches of white asparagus with a Wye Valley wrapper from the Chinn family in Herefordshire showed up.

6 spears of white asparagus
2 slices of white bread with crusts removed
2tsp caster sugar
2-3tbsp olive oil
2 slices of good-quality ham
2 slices of Emmental cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A couple of good knobs of butter

Peel the asparagus about 1cm from the tip all the way down and remove any woody ends. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil with the sugar, add the asparagus and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size, until tender. Remove from the water and leave to cool.

Lay the ham and cheese on each slice of bread, then put the asparagus on top at one end of each and roll up the slices. Heat the butter in a non-stick pan and fry the sandwiches for 3-4 minutes, turning as they are cooking until golden; serve immediately.

Kiln-smoked trout with horseradish and cucumber

Serves 2

I was recently sent some great kiln-smoked trout and salmon from Spink's, the Arbroath smokies producers. It really lends itself to just breaking it on to some freshly toasted bread with a good spoonful of horseradish.

2 slices of sourdough or bloomer
100-120g smoked trout fillets
1-2tbsp horseradish sauce
3cm piece of cucumber, cut into matchstick-like pieces
A few small salad leaves
1tbsp rapeseed oil

Toast the bread on both sides, then spoon over a little rapeseed oil and spread on some horseradish. Break the trout into pieces and arrange on the toast with the leaves, spooning over the rest of the horseradish. Season with coarsely ground pepper, add a little rapeseed oil and scatter the cucumbers.

Get your dish on the menu at HIX Oyster and Fish House, By the Bay and The Millside in Lyme Regis. Mark will be judging your British seasonal crab and mackerel recipes with a final cook-off in June and July in Lyme as part of the town's Crab and Mackerel Festivals. It's free to enter. Visit hixoysterandfishhouse.co.uk/whatson for more details

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