Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Princess of Sandwich.

Nothing beats a good sandwich.  Every culture in the world has at least one version of the famous finger food.  It's so perfect, no knife and fork needed (usually), it's all self contained, and you can eat it while walking around. Well, this week in The House That Hunger Built (that's what I call my apartment now) it's Sandwich Week (kinda like TLC's Shark Week only sandwich attacks are not as common) and most of our sustenance has been in the form of two fisted torpedoes of tastiness.  I especially love sandwiches because you don't have to take your hand off your cocktail while you eat them.  With a cocktail in one hand and a sandwich in the other I'm much less likely to get Ruffied.  Not that I really ever go out to places where I'm likely to get a Mickey slipped in my drink.  Anyways, see what I'm saying?  Sandwiches can save your life.

So the first sandwich of the day is the Sandwich de Cubano.  That's Cuban Sandwich in Spanish for those of you who get easily confused.  This is a sandwich near and dear to my heart.  I grew up eating these buttery pork filled treasures.  The only problem with making them up here in the Pacific Northwest is the fact that there is no Cuban bread in sight.  You have to make it yourself.  The key is using lard.  Otherwise it's not the same.  Still, a crusty (but still soft) French roll can take it's place pretty admirably.  Yellow mustard (I actually prefer Dijon), roasted pork shoulder, sliced black forest ham, Swiss cheese, sliced dill pickles.  Smear the outside of the bread with butter and sear on a cast iron pan while pushing down with the bottom of another pan.  Or stick it in your Cuban sandwich press.  Stay away from those jenky panini presses, they don't work as well.

Okay, so from here on in things get a little wacky.  I decided I wanted to invent a sandwich so I surveyed my fridge for possible sandwich ingredients and here's what I came up with:  I call it the Brat Patrol (a cross between the terrible 1986 film of troublesome military brats that foil a weapons theft plot and the sandwiches main star, the bratwurst).  Pronounced Bräught Pa-trol.  And you have to say it with a no-nonsense German accent, otherwise it wont taste the same.  So to make the Brat Patrol you start with a toasted artisanal brioche roll.  A little spicy German mustard, a few slices of black forest ham, cooked bratwurst sliced in half, cooked black forest bacon, a quick fennel kraut, and some shredded butterkase (or gouda) cheese.  Throw it under the broiler for a minute and there you go.  Here's how I made the quick fennel kraut:

Quick Caramelized Fennel-Kraut
1 head of fennel (just the white part), thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Over low heat melt the butter and slowly saute the fennel and onion.  Stir every once in a while.  In about 45 minutes you should have a nice golden color.  Mix in the vinegar and mustard.  Season to taste.

Okay, so I have another crazy sandwich for you only this time I didn't invent it.  This one comes from the famous sandwich joint Tony Luke's in Philidelphia, PA.  This is a take on Their famous Italian Roast Pork Sandwich.  I'm sure I didn't make it exactly the same as the restaurant so I don't want to hear any Philly natives whining that I did it wrong.  People love to point out that you didn't clone something properly.  Anyways, it's a pretty simple sandwich with one strange exeption.  It has sauteed broccoli rabe in it.  The flavors are delicious and the contrast in textures is key.  Not only that but you get your veggies while eating a fatty pork sandwich.  You can't beat that.   Okay, so now that Sandwich Week is over where do we go from here?  Well, perhaps we'll look deep into the depths of the endless sandwich pool and focus on a sub-category of the species.  Perhaps we need to take a closer look at the almighty cheeseburger.  It's the Great White Shark of sandwiches, only cheesier and greasier.

Tony Luke's Italian Roast Pork Sandwich

1 (2 1/2 lb) pork shoulder
3 tablespoons garlic (chopped)
2 ½ tablespoons fresh rosemary (chopped)
3 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. broccoli rabe (aka rapini)
3 quarts water
¼ cup olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
¼-½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
long crusty Italian rolls
½ lb. sliced sharp provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix the garlic, rosemary, parsley, salt pepper, and olive oil in a bowl. Spread the pork roast out on a clean surface. If there are any large thick sections of meat, score them with a knife. Rub 3/4 of the mixture over all exposed surfaces. Roll the roast back up and truss with kitchen twine. Rub the remaining mixture on the outside of the roast. Place the roast in a dutch oven or heavy pot pot and cook for 20 minutes.

Turn down the oven to 200F cook at least 3-4 hours longer or until the pork is falling apart. Remove pork from truss or netting and shred into large chunks, removing any large pieces of fat that may be left. Save the accumulated juices in the pot.

For the broccoli rabe: Wash thoroughly and cut about 1/2 inch off the bottom of the stems. Cut the florets off the top and set aside. Bring 3qts salted water to a rolling boil.
Add broccoli rabe leaves and stems and cook about 1&1/2 minutes then add the florets and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove broccoli from boiling water and drain, but reserve about 1/4- 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a deep frying pan (which is cold) begin heat olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic together over medium heat. Once the garlic begins to sauté, begin to time about two minutes (till very lightly browned) add drained broccoli. Sauté the broccoli rabe about 3-5 minutes longer and then add the cooking liquid from the pot.

Assemble sandwiches. Toast sliced roll if desired. Add the provolone to roll before hot meat. then the cheese can melt. After that top with broccoli rabe generously.

BTW Urbanspoon rocks.