Convenience is the name of the game with sandwich wraps. Wraps give you everything you get in a sandwich in a compact, edible package you can eat with one hand. Anything you can put in a sandwich, you can put in a wrap, but tortillas don't have the absorbency and strength of bread, so you have to follow a couple of guidelines to keep it neat and easy to eat. You can put any ingredients in a wrap as long as you keep them thin, evenly distributed and don't layer them more than 1/2-inch thick on the tortilla.
Cover the work surface with a piece of plastic wrap about twice the size of the tortilla. The plastic helps you make a tight, neat roll with the wrap later. Warm the tortilla in a microwave for 10 seconds to make it more pliable.
Lay the tortilla out on the plastic wrap and cover it with a sandwich spread, such as mayonnaise, leaving about 1/4 inch of space around the edges. Don’t apply a thick layer of spread; use just enough to moisten each bite.
Cover the sandwich spread with a layer of cheese a little less than 1/4-inch thick, if desired. Use thinly sliced cheese, if possible; sliced cheese strengthens the wrap and helps prevent the tortilla from tearing when you roll it and eat it.
Place the secondary sandwich toppings, such as thinly sliced roasted peppers, grilled or raw onions or sun-dried tomatoes, on the cheese. Every sandwich made with a wrap or bread needs a secondary topping that complements the main ingredient. For example, if you’re using a fatty protein, such as salami, as the main ingredient, add an acidic ingredient, such as thinly sliced cherry peppers or capers, to contrast the fat.
Add a crunchy, textural ingredient to the wrap, if desired. Get creative with the textures; they add an appealing contrast to the softness of the wrap. Sunflower seeds, crushed cashews or crisp bacon all work with the right main ingredient.
Add fresh produce next. Add the freshest, coldest ingredients just before the main ingredient so they won’t wilt before you serve the wrap. Fresh ingredients, such as shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes, contain water, which can dilute the other flavors in the wrap. Squeeze out the excess water from lettuce, for example, or pick out the seed cavities in tomatoes, before adding them so you get the flavor but none of the sogginess.
Add the protein, or main ingredient, in an even layer to the sandwich. Whatever protein you use -- chicken breast, cold cuts or grilled portabella mushrooms, for example -- slice thinly. Add two or three layers of protein, if you like, but the pieces shouldn’t exceed 1/4-inch thick or you’ll have a lumpy center in your wrap.
Grasp the plastic wrap under the tortilla and use it to roll the tortilla forward and “wrap the wrap.” As you roll the tortilla, occasionally pull back on the plastic to keep the roll tight, similar to how you use plastic wrap to help roll sushi.
Pull the plastic away from the wrap. Slice the roll in half at an angle and serve.
- If you want to serve wraps hot, heat them on a baking sheet in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 5 minutes.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.