When I think about all the sandwiches I’ve eaten down ferociously through my life, the sandwich de miga comes to mind instantly.
Maybe because I started eating these delicacies at a very early age as a kid in Argentina. Or, maybe it’s because it’s ridiculously easy to devour.
I think that explains why they are sold in dozens. Even though I’m sure the people behind the counters taking care of your order are nice and all, I bet their smiling faces are because they think “Yeah – order a dozen for yourself and pretend it’s for your family. We know it’s all for yourself”.
And hey, they’re so right! They got this make-as-many-people-addicted-to-this-shit thang locked down: The popularity of the sandwich de miga is up there with the Pebete. This means, this sandwich – alongside other sandwiches – is just a childhood staple of Argentina. By default, you cheer for the football team of your father. By default, you get addicted to sandwich de miga. That’s just the way it is.
So don’t get fooled by the macho-like steaks and empanadas we Argentine like to boast about. When it comes to sandwiches, we are soft souls trying to make the best comfort food.
How To Assemble
When entering any shop, you see a stack of sandwiches that are single or double layered and are made from a thin white bread without crust.
PRO TIP: “Miga” means crumbs in Spanish.
When made, sandwich de migas gets filled with thinly sliced meat. My favorites are ham, boiled eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce. Often you find other vegetables like asparagus, but these are for very, very particular tastes. Butter is another important ingredient. They can be toasted, but are usually consumed untoasted. To me, sandwich de miga are fluffy, heavenly creatures. When toasted, I think they look they’ve been run over by a car and left in the streets.
1. Get your hands on some super huge pullman loaf – white or whole wheat, but white if you want to keep it extra real. Make squares about 30cm x 30cm, and keep the length to around 45cm-50 cm in size.
2. Trim off crust, of course.
3. Cut into thin slices. Try to keep them to 1 cm thick (or thin, however you wanna see it).
…or just skip all the crap and get yourself some pre-sliced squares…
5. Smear mayonnaise – alternatively whipped butter – on the inner sides of the loaf.
7. Choose your ingredients. See toppings below ↓
8. Layer the chosen ingredients between the slices of bread. Do not overlap anything. (I’m really treating you as a child here, don’t I? Sorry about that)
9. Slice equally-sized rectangles. Each of these should be sliced in half.
10. Serve just as they are or, if you want to go for the previously mentioned roadkill-look: toast them a bit.
Cured Ham (prosciutto-style)
Cantimpalo (smoky Spanish-style sausage)
Hearts of palm
Roasted red peppers
The Origins of the Sandwich De Miga
Many people will debate that the sandwich de miga is simply a copy of the Italian “tramezzini”, and while it’s obvious that it is – it’s still different. It’s just one of the many things that Argentines take from its internationally inspired cuisine and adapt to our tastes and customs.
But this sandwich hasn’t been prominent for very long. According to the journalist Fernando Vidal Buzzi, the sandwich de miga was found in a few selected traditional bakeries in the city of Buenos Aries, just a couple of decades ago. These bakeries’ names were Las Violetas, Las Delicias, Los Dos Boulevares, El Águila, La Exposición, La Porteña, La París and more recently Los Dos Escudos.
But even though some people claim its origins are from Spain, the direct ancestor is the tramezzini which stems from the northern part of the country. The tramezzini of course, came with the Italian immigration to Argentina according to The Academia Argentina de Gastronomia. This sandwich was invented in 1925 in Turin, specifically in the Café Mulassano, which offered 40 variants!
The term tramezzino was the creation of Gabriele D’Annunzio, a local poet and politician.
The interesting thing though, is that in Italy the sandwich is a triangle. Also, the combination of ingredients are worth mentioning. The traditional tramezzino is made of salmon and lettuce, for example. Other traditional variants are tuna and artichokes (make sure to check out Papaya Pieces’ awesome artichoke recipe here), and lettuce and prawns. So a lot of fish sandwiches here.
Lastly, in order to make the debate spicy, the Argentine daily newspaper Clarín claims the sandwich de miga was invented by local bakers, specifically at the Confitería Ideal. They had made a sandwich with a recreated English-style bread to satisfy a group of home-sick British engineers who used to frequent their establishment during the early part of the Twentieth Century.
The sandwich de miga is a mean sandwich. Enough said. It is something all enthusiasts should try, and the worse part is that it is hard to get all the ingredients together to make one. At least if you want to taste the traditional taste. So we need to know: How much for a ticket, and where do the Argentinians leave all the crust?