We've all been there — somehow, there's only one real slice of bread left in the bag, not counting the ends of course, which, as everyone knows, aren't real pieces. Whether it's because there's a worldwide conspiracy among bread producers to cause consternation among sandwich lovers by cutting up loaves into odd numbers of slices, or because you chose to have one slice of toast one morning instead of two (or the other way around), it doesn't matter. Because this always happens just when you're in the mood for a sandwich. Fail!
Or is it? Maybe there's hope yet. Ever considered making an open-faced sandwich? With the right recipe, it can be something truly fantastic and not just a halfhearted attempt at a sandwich.
Take, for example, the classic Hot Brown Sandwich, a regional favorite from Kentucky. You'll want to use bread that can stand up to some serious toppings, as this classic sandwich really piles it on with bacon, tomato, chicken, and a thick cheese sauce — all of which gets baked until the sauce turns bubbly.
Or, if you're looking for something healthier, try this Open-Faced Eggplant Sandwich — thin slices of eggplant are marinated, grilled to perfection, and piled on top of a layer of spinach, onion, and tomato for a delicious vegetarian sandwich that's perfect for summer.
And, if you want to get really creative and ditch sandwich bread altogether, don't miss out on this Grilled Chicken Huarache from Oscar del Rivero, executive chef of Talavera Cocina Mexicana, located in Florida. It's one of their most popular menu items and can serve as either an appetizer or entrée.
As anyone can see here, the merits of an open-faced sandwich don't just end with convenience. They open up (pun intended) a number of possibilities that you just don't have with regular sandwiches, like having more fillings, toppings, and sauces (more is always better, right?), as well as using something besides bread altogether as the base. Open-faced sandwiches are eaten around the world; in Belgium, tartines are popular, in Mexico there are huaraches, and in Great Britain people enjoy having things "on toast" (whether or not such things qualify as a sandwich is certainly up for debate). And let's not forget — taking off the top means fewer carbs, and ostensibly, fewer calories.
Hey, wait a minute — couldn't we have just taken that last slice and cut it in half to make half a normal sandwich? Well, yes, but that would have been boring.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.