Saturday, August 19, 2006

Solitary pleasure meal

I just discovered I'm going to be home alone for a few days next week - probably. And The third thing to cross my mind was that I can finally eat my solitary pleasure meal.

I call it that because it's not something to be eaten when you expect to be near people for, oh, the next 48 hours. (guilty grin). As I said, I am fond of strong flavors...

It's a sandwich. Dark Rye, Garlic Sausage, Limburger Cheese, sourkraut, strong mustard. Assemble and grill like a Reuben. What, you've not assembled a reuben? OK, let's walk through the assembly.

Two slices of bread. A light coat of mustard on each - which among other things helps prevent the moisture of everything else coming through to the bread and dissolving it. Now I like melt on both sides, so I put cheese on each half. Limburger being a soft cheese, I spread it, but if you're assembling a reuben just put the cheese on one slice of bread for now.

Thin slice the sausages (or corned beef) and make a layer a quarter inch or so thick. Now put on WELL-DRAINED saurkraut. While I like strong flavors these are supposed to balance each other, so make this layer about half as thick as that of the sausage. Another layer of cheese goes on now if you're just making a reuben, and top it with the bread. Now it's time to grill.

Get your cast-iron skillet medium hot. Oh, you don't have cast-iron? mutter - I just realized what a post in the near future's going to be. OK, put your skillet over medium-high heat and let it set for a couple of minutes. You want it, hmmm, if you sprinkle a bit of water onto the skillet the droplets should dance, not sit and evaporate (too cold) or burst into steam (too hot). (look up sessile effect - that's what's going on. Anyway...)

Dampen a paper towel with oil, or use a butterbrush, and LIGHTLY brush the skillet with the grease. All you're doing is applying something that'll help brown and crisp the bread. Put the sandwich in the skillet. Wait between a minte and a half and two minutes, and turn the sandwich over. You'll have to wait just a bit longer to pull the sandwich out as the first pass cooled the skillet.

Actually, all you're waiting for is for the bread to sear enough that instead of bonding to the skillet it's separate. With practice you can test by nudging and recognize whether it's yielding to your nudge but still stuck or sliding and ready to pull.

Anyway, my stinky sandwich is now crispy and filled with several well-balanced strong flavors working in glorious competition. And your reuben, a much more civilized sandwich, is ready for you. Enjoy.


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