Saturday, February 19, 2011

Eat Here's favorite grilled sandwich

Time for Eat Here to return to a topic near and dear to us: Did you eat yet?

Sandwiches are always a viable evening meal possibility for us, and this is an old familiar favorite. You probably have your own variation on the theme. For us there are a couple of necessities: sourdough bread, real beef pastrami, good cheese and homemade coleslaw. In your house these may be as varied as rye or wheat bread, turkey pastrami - or, honestly, no pastrami at all; you can leave it off altogether and still have a fine sandwich - and storebought coleslaw. Sorry about the cheese. By Eat Here Eatery rules, you can't really make this without the good quality cheese, though endless variations on that theme are certainly possible.

For perfection, you should make your own coleslaw*, but you can come very close to perfection with good-quality coleslaw from Publix or a local deli you already love. From that same deli, get some thinly sliced pastrami and cheese. I recommend baby Swiss or nice sharp cheddar, but my people are wimpy about cheese; a good quality white American covers this inadequacy pretty neatly. You'll need Thousand Island dressing to add a gentle tangy touch, though of course any homemade dressing meeting those requirements will do nicely. For hardware you need a good cast iron skillet or griddle (we use the latter) but if you don't have one, any skillet will do.

Here's the how-to. Place two slices of sourdough or whatever bread you prefer facedown on the cast iron griddle and set over medium-high heat. (We don't butter these since God knows we do NOT need the extra fat, but you can, if you prefer.) Gently spread the face-up sides with Thousand Island dressing (or your chosen variation). Place sliced cheese on one slice of bread and adjust the heat so the cheese can begin to melt while you add ingredients. Top the cheese with a slice or two of pastrami to taste, or omit this step for a vegetarian version of the sandwich. Top this same slice of bread with a generous dollop of coleslaw. (For the Rodney version of this sandwich, top with sliced bread-and-butter pickles or petite gherkins. For the Angie version, top with sliced jalapenos or roasted red peppers, or, um, both.) Assemble both slices of bread into a sandwich and flip gently as needed to toast evenly. Key to success: toast long enough to melt the cheese a bit without overheating the coleslaw.

Cut sandwich into halves or quarters and serve with salad. Sound good?

In a two-cup measuring cup, place about 4 tablespoons of sugar. Drizzle sugar with best-quality vinegar (raspberry or pear vinegar are great, but plain old apple cider vinegar works just fine), using just enough vinegar to absorb the sugar. When the sugar is completely absorbed, add about about a tablespoon of regular mustard and about a cup of mayonnaise or salad dressing. Let this mixture stand for 15 minutes or so before topping the vegetables.

Shred half a head of cabbage, a couple of carrots and half a sweet onion into a large bowl, and when the dressing is ready, toss everything together. The cabbage will shrink as if by magic and the big bowl will outlive its usefulness, but the outcome of the work is delightfully worth the effort, including washing out that big old bowl.


  1. I see a cookbook in your future, sweetie.

  2. Dear, dear Ms. Moon, I take that as the highest compliment. I think Ernie Mickler might have beaten me to it, but I don't seem to be able to resist food talk.


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