The cartoonish idea of a stacked-high sandwich is so ingrained in our culture it has a name: a Dagwood, referring to the “Blondie” comic-strip character known for entering a sort of fever dream as he dreams of, assembles and consumes them.
I’ve devoured my share of Dagwoods over the years, and before I stopped eating meat they were of course layered with it, in various forms. More recently, I’ve made a point of trying to demonstrate, now and then, that a vegetarian sandwich can also be hearty and even indulgent — messy in the best possible way.
My latest offering is a wonderfully simple take from the book “Tasty Pride,” a celebration of recipes by fellow members of the LGBTQ-plus community that I’m happy to publicize just as Pride Month closes out. This one is by Amelia Rampe, studio food editor at Kitchn, and it called to me as soon as I landed on its page — and not just because of the touching anecdote that preceded it, about the night Rampe and her daughter came out to each other. The truth is, Rampe speaks my language, the language of sandwich lovers everywhere, by combining a small number of smart, crucial ingredients.
Roast cauliflower — seasoned well and cooked until it’s nicely browned — and sauteed chard provide the bulk. Smoked Gouda, melted on the hot cauliflower after it comes out of the oven, offers richness (as does mayo). Hoagie rolls, lightly toasted, are the backdrop. But it’s Peppadews that seal the deal. These South African pickled peppers are a little sweet and a little spicy, and they elevate any dish they touch, but they’re particularly useful for cutting through fat. They’re the spark that keeps your palate interested, bite after bite, until you look at the crumbs left on your plate and wonder what just happened and when it will happen again.
If all this seems too hearty to you — these sandwiches are not light, and they are not diet-friendly — there’s an easy fix: Cut them in half.