National Peanut Month — like National Baked Bean Month (July) and National Accordion Awareness Month (June) — comes but once a year, and that means celebrating, Peter Pan salmonella outbreak notwithstanding. Our top five nut-butter sandwiches, below.
1. The Elvis at Peanut Butter & Co.
Excellent peanut butter, honey, sliced banana, and optional (but recommended) bacon on white toast. Historical culinary note: In what might be the most famous case of the munchies, Elvis flew from Memphis to Denver on his private jet just to sample the progenitor of this fine sandwich, which was a loaf of Italian bread sliced lengthwise, a jar of Jif, a jar of jelly, and a pound of bacon. It was meant for sharing, but Elvis wolfed one down all by himself. 240 Sullivan St., nr. W. 3rd St.; 212-677-3995.
2. Chunky Peanut Butter & Jelly triple-decker at ‘Wichcraft.
They grind their own peanut butter, make their own seasonally inspired jelly (rhubarb in the spring, Concord grape in the fall, and currently plum), and ingeniously layer it between three slices of Pullman-style bread with the jelly on the top and the peanut butter on the bottom, preventing this lofty concoction from becoming a soggy mess. 60 E. 8th St., nr. Broadway; 212-942-4272, and other Manhattan locations.
3. Peanut butter, banana, coconut, and ginger at City Bakery.
Consider this an Asian-inspired Elvis of sorts, and a good one; it’s smooshed together in a panini press and available at the lunch counter only. 3 W. 18th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-366-1414.
4. The Memphis at Swich.
Amy’s golden-raisin semolina bread lends this variation on an Elvis (peanut butter, banana, and honey) an unusual flavor profile thanks mainly to the fennel seeds in the bread. In the current peanut-butter-sandwich fashion, it’s pressed and served warm with Dum Dums lollipops to complete the childhood regression. 104 Eighth Avenue, nr. 15th St.; 212-488-4800.
5. CB&J; at Bouchon Bakery.
This Thomas Keller creation doesn’t really count since it’s made with rich cashew butter instead of plebeian peanut, but it’s a good alternative for peanut-allergy sufferers, if not entirely in keeping with the spirit of National Peanut Month. It’s layered with apricot jam between two thick slices of brioche and meticulously squooshed in the sandwich press until the lavishly buttered bread acquires a St. Tropez tan. 10 Columbus Circle, at 59th St., third fl.; 212-823-9366. — Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld