Julie Lin, owner of Julie’s Kopitiam, Glasgow
This open shrimp sandwich has been stuck in my memory ever since I ate it in Malmö a few years ago. You need a good mayonnaise (enough to coat the shrimp), crunchy lettuce, cucumbers, a squeeze of lemon (also add zest), chopped large shrimp and, most importantly, dill. Layer on hazelnut rye bread – no butter needed. Dill elevates this dish to a fresh, fragrant level that the pink marie sauce doesn’t quite reach. It’s not traditional, but I also like adding capers. The result is a breathtakingly beautiful sandwich, perfect for serving to friends. Accompany it with a strong black coffee.
Steamed turbot, salsa verde and aioli
John Javier, chef at Bar Flounder, London
This dish is very easy to make. Take a smaller turbot, so the fillets aren’t too thick, and steam for four to five minutes. Steaming, rather than frying, gives fish like turbot a silky, gelatinous “mouth feel”. Prepare a quick salsa verde with two handfuls of parsley, capers, pickles, anchovy fillets, red wine vinegar, two cloves of garlic and olive oil. Mix, then use to dress the steamed fish. Take your brioche bun – I like the ones from St Pierre – and spread it with aioli on each side. Add your fish garnish and you’re done. Serve with a glass of natural pet.
Mark Greenaway, Chief Patron of Pivot and Greenaway’s Pie & Mash, London, and Grazing by Mark Greenaway, Edinburgh
I was in Istanbul when another chef suggested I try balık ekmek: blackened mackerel in a crispy, buttered baguette bun, with lettuce and a side of pickles. We went down to the river and got a baked one on the side of a fishing boat. It was the whole fillet, with fish hanging off the edges of the bread, and it was just stunning. You can recreate it by cooking lightly seasoned mackerel on a barbecue and pairing it with tiger bread. You can marinate thinly sliced cucumber and onions with a 50/50 mixture of water, vinegar and sugar – just pour over and marinate for 10 minutes. It’s so simple but the flavor really bursts.
Tuna mayo with sautéed red onions
Pip Lacey, co-owner of Hicce, London
When I was about 20, I worked in a Zizzi where they made tuna mayo crostini with red onions, and it changed my philosophy towards tuna sandwiches. You sauté the red onions then mix with canned tuna, mayonnaise, salt and lots of pepper. You can use any bread, just toast it and cover it with butter. I hate cucumber and it always fits in store-bought tuna sandwiches. I also love shrimp mayonnaise sandwiches: use king prawns and add cilantro, it’s a heavenly marriage. This is real nostalgic comfort food.
Roll of crab sticks
Jackson Berg, co-founder and chef of Barletta at Turner Contemporary, Margate
This sandwich consists of crab sticks, chipotle mayonnaise and shallots combined in a brioche hot dog bun. You can also cook mussels and add them too, along with chives and cilantro. If you can’t get your hands on chipotle, you can mix Tabasco or harissa with mayonnaise instead. I first made it as a “dirty snack bar” at one of my previous restaurants and it turned out to be a huge crowd pleaser. It is best to accompany it with a black velvet cocktail (champagne and Guinness).
Arugula, parmesan and anchovies
Leandro Carreira, Executive Chef of The Sea, The Sea, London
Crush the wild arugula and Parmesan with a mortar and pestle, as if you were making a pesto, then spread on a slice of sourdough or white bread. Top the other slice with chunks of unpasteurized raw butter – it’s much tastier than regular butter. Then fill your sandwich with anchovies – I recommend the Yurrita “00” anchovy fillets, which are salted but not in a hurry, so they are still very thick. Conventional anchovies are said to be too salty and bony. I’ve used at least four of them – but you can use more – it depends on how much you like anchovies. I love the combination of flavors and it’s so easy to set up.
Smoked eel sandwich
Jamie Barnett, chef at Castle Inn, Wiltshire
Take two slices of good old-fashioned bloomer bread and spread a thick layer of butter, then mayonnaise. Then mix a tablespoon of crème fraîche with lemon juice, chives, parsley, fresh horseradish and black pepper, keeping it as coarse as possible. Place on a slice and garnish with mustard leaves. Take your eel – I recommend using wood-smoked eel – crack it with your fingers and scatter it on the bread. Serve with deli-style pickles – the sweet acidity of the pickles cuts the eel perfectly – and a good cold IPA.
Po ‘boy with fried oysters
Luke Selby, chef at Evelyn’s Table, London
Fried and breaded seafood sandwiches like this are traditional in Louisiana, but here the idea of an oyster sandwich is a bit unusual. I like to use extra large, good quality Dorset oysters. Coat them in flour, then egg, then panko breadcrumbs, then fry them before tossing them in a mild chili sauce. Place inside a brioche bun and serve with ribbons of pickled cucumber and wasabi mayonnaise – you can make your own by mixing wasabi and mayonnaise for a creamy sauce that has a bit of heat. Serve with a beer.
Katsu sole sandwich
Endo Kazutoshi, co-owner and executive chef of Endo at the Rotunda, London
Remove the crusts from two slices of white bread, butter them on both sides and toast them lightly. Take the Dover sole fillets, coat them with egg yolk followed by panko breadcrumbs, then fry them in oil – not too hot – until golden brown. Add a little tartar sauce and a little bit of reduced balsamic vinegar to the two pieces of bread. Sandwich the sole between the bread and slice in half. Garnish with very thinly sliced zucchini and fennel and a drizzle of high quality honey for serving.
Open sandwich with grilled sardines
Tomos Parry, chef at Brat, London