Bagel Sandwiches always amuse me… growing up in a culture where bagels, loxs and cream cheese are staples of the diet on saturday brunch, it makes me chuckle when I see sandwiches on a bagel. First of all, why would someone want to waste a perfectly good bagel and make a sandwich out of it. Part of the fun of eating a bagel is getting to split it open and eat each half individually. Secondly, bagels have holes in them. They are not biali’s, that is for sure.
So I will let slide and egg and cheese on a bagel, but i prefer said sandwich on a croissant or a biscuit. But the reason I will let it slide is because nothing will fall through the hole with an egg and cheese on a bagel, assuming it is cooked right. But that leads me to one of three reasons I do not like bagel sandwiches.
1. The Bagels takes too much away from the sandwich: A good bagel is something that should be enjoyed by itself, where the flavors of the bagel can really come through. The soft chewy inside, surrounded by the slightly thicker yet soft outside. Put some butter, some cream cheese, or even a little bit of jam or peanut butter on there and it is pretty darn filling. If you are using the bagel to make a sandwich because you are trying to either use up the bagel, or it is not worth eating on its own, then you are doing the sandwich injustice. If it is a bad bagel, it will be tough, too chewy, or too hard. Either way, good or bad, the bagel will overpower the sandwich.
2. The hole in the bagel: Things poke out of it. Yes, meats and cheeses will not poke out of the hole, but unless you totally contain the veggies, etc that you would normally put on the sandwich, things will either pop out or drip out of the sandwich. Seepage is not a good thing, and if you are using a sauce, you will surely drip somewhere. It will probably not be on the plate either. If you cover up the hole, then you are suffocating the inside of the sandwich, your sauce will either drip out on top of everything, or as soon as you bite enough to have an overlap on the hole, it will drip out.
3. The Small Surface Area: Unless it is a huge NY bagel, the surface area on the sandwich is going to be too small to get everything you want on there. The lack of corners reduces about 30% of the real-estate that you would find on a normal sandwich. This means that everything is jammed in there, or you cut down on the insides of the sandwich so that you don’t have spillage. When you cut down on the insides, the bread (bagel) to filling ratio is way off. You end up with either a mouthful of bagel with nothing in it, or a mouthful of insides without the bread. Then you have to over compensate, so you never get a really good feel for the sandwich as a whole.
The only exceptions are breakfast sandwiches if they are kept very simple, or peanut butter and honey sandwiches, where the ingredients are spread thin. PB&J will surely find a way to drip out of the sandwich, so be prepared. Bagel pizzas are also not good to try and make sandwiches out of.