Originally posted by Ciaoman
Speaking of Reuben sandwiches, I've noticed that a lot of places are serving these as an open-faced affair, i.e., with one slice of grilled rye topped with a pile of meat, kraut and the whole thing covered in melted swiss. I much prefer a "traditional" Reuben, that is, served as a grilled sandwich rather than an open-faced one that must be eaten with knife and fork. What do you like?
I agree 100%. Here is the recipe and guidelines that I use to make mine. I've never had any complaints.
Modern-day Reuben sandwiches are often open-faced and broiled, which dries out the corned beef and makes the cheese rubbery. Or, under the misguided belief that more is better, they are overstuffed. The main things to remember for a great Reuben are to keep the filling under control and in balance, so when you bite into it you get a harmonious and succulent mouthful; and to grill the sandwich slowly and under some pressure, so the bread gets toasty brown and buttery crisp, the meat gets warmed through, and the cheese is just melted enough to be oozy.
2 slices rye bread or pumpernickel
2 teaspoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Reuben's Russian Dressing (recipe below)
1/4 cup well-drained, fresh-style sauerkraut
2 ounces thinly sliced Gruyère or Switzerland Swiss cheese
1/4 pound thinly sliced corned beef
Butter each slice of bread evenly to the edges on one side.
Place one slice, buttered side down, in a small cold skillet: Build the sandwich in the skillet you'll grill it in.
Spread 1 tablespoon of the Russian dressing on the face-up, dry side of the bread. Then put on the sauerkraut, spreading it evenly.
Arrange the cheese in an even layer over the sauerkraut, then do the same with the corned beef.
Spread another 1 tablespoon Russian dressing on the dry side of the second slice of bread and place it, dressing side down, buttered side up, over the corned beef.
Place the skillet over medium-low heat and grill the sandwich slowly, pressing down on it a few times with a wide metal spatula. Grill until the bread is browned and crisped, then turn the sandwich over with the help of the spatula.
Now weight the sandwich down by placing a plate (or another small skillet) over the sandwich, then adding on a weight, such as a 28-ounce can of tomatoes. Grill until the second side has browned and crisped, then flip the sandwich over one more time to briefly reheat the other side.
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food
By Arthur Schwartz
Overall: Pretty detailed, right? It took me longer to type those instructions than it did to make the sandwich. But that's typical of Schwartz's hand-holding in the book.
Rye or pumpernickel? Pumpernickel? Whoever heard of such a thing? Might as well use white bread.
Russian dressing: He uses Reuben's recipe, which combines 1/2 cup of mayo with a tablespoon of ketchup, a teaspoon of grated onion, 1/2 teaspoon of horseradish, 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon of parsley. Red caviar is optional but unnecessary.
Why Russian? According to Schwartz, Reuben's was the first Jewish deli to make a corned beef sandwich with Russian dressing and, even better and more New York, with deli coleslaw.
Sauerkraut: Try to get it from the deli counter. They should have it in midwinter, but if not, well-drained canned sauerkraut will do.
Procedure: Since I don't have a sandwich press, I make grilled cheese sandwiches in a skillet in just this way. But now that panini are so stylish, I bet more people have sandwich presses.
For one? Obviously, it's a cinch to double the recipe.
What to do with the leftover Russian dressing? Use it on an iceberg-lettuce wedge, as a sauce with fried fish, or to cover halved hard-cooked eggs, making Eggs à la Russe.