I’ve typed three hundred words about this sandwich, twice. I’ve also deleted them twice because I’ve realized that I’m dancing around an ugly truth: This wasn’t that good. It wasn’t that bad, either, but that’s the most damning thing of all. I’ve long railed against the mediocre here, sandwiches without even the courage to be bad. I should make no efforts to spare myself when that’s where I end up, and that means calling this sandwich what it is: just OK. Pepper jam came as a suggested ingredient via Twitter, and I have to say that it left me stumped for quite some time. Brie was a suggestion I got at the same time, and it was no great labor to produce the delightful brie & lamb meatball sandwich and associated numbers. But pepper jam? If you’re unfamiliar, it’s what it says on the tin, a jam made of sweet and hot peppers. It’s got quite a bit of spice to it, but like any jam the dominant note is sweetness. The flavor isn’t complex, but it struck me as quite hard to pair. I eventually settled on smoked chicken and bacon, because it seemed like it might give it a savory depth that would play well with the sweet. Or well enough, anyway.
I hesitate to say that this was the best I could do with the pepper jam. Some things just aren’t meant to be on sandwiches, but I’m not at all convinced this is one of them. I simply didn’t try as hard as I could, settling for good enough, and for this I beg your forgiveness. I intend to revisit the issue. You deserve more, as readers. The pepper jam deserves more, as pepper jam. I don’t see it as a simple task, but it’s a worthy one. As always, any suggestions are welcome.