In partnership with fried catfish and chicken wings, waffles have transcended the realm of sweet to become a bona fide savory breakfast and brunch dish. There's still work to be done, however, to expand their presence at other non-matutinal meals. Houston institutions like The Waffle Bus have done an excellent job at pushing various waffle options for lunch and supper, notably in the form of imaginative sandwiches. If, however, you missed the bus (har), you can easily put together your own waffle sandwich at home. Here are five traditional sandwiches transformed via the substitution of waffles:
5. Grilled Cheese. A no-brainer, really, considering we're already using waffle irons to make grilled cheese (see picture). The next logical step, of course, is to use the waffles themselves with your favorite melting cheese. Stick to thinner (not Belgian) waffles so as not to tip the carbohydrate-to-fatty-dairy ratio, and consider adding sliced apples or pears for additional crunch and texture.
4. Chicken Salad. Fried chicken is a friend to waffles and chicken salad should be, too, especially to waffles of the crispy, whole-wheat variety. Remember to cool your waffles to room temperature lest their ambient heat melt the salad's mayo component. You want the waffles to serve as a sweet sponge for the salty juices and a firm platform for the protein.
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3. BLT. A side of bacon often plays a supporting role to waffles at the breakfast table, but at lunch both can be the main event. For a truly superb waffle BLT, stack the bacon, lettuce, tomatoes (and mayo) on homemade savory waffles, like buttermilk cheddar or whole-wheat chive.
2. New England Crab Cake Roll. Spruce a classic crab cake sandwich by using a soft, almost almost soggy waffle instead of a bland Kaiser roll. Cornbread waffles go particularly well with crab cakes dressed in a spicy aioli or rémoulade.
1. Burger. Another no-brainer. We've seen hamburgers benefit by swapping the classic bun for doughnuts, ramen patties and even fried chicken breasts, so why not waffles? A malty waffle replete with nooks and crannies is a peerless medium for absorbing the bloody juices of a burger cooked proper (that is to say, rare). And haven't you wanted the excuse, anyway, to have a side of maple syrup for your beef and fries?