Several months ago, we embarked upon a project to perfect the Reuben sandwich. We think we’re getting close with this:
- Rye bread. Walk straight past the bread aisle to the deli. Get something fresh from the bakery, ideally a small loaf (small loaves are great in that you’ll eat the whole thing before it has a chance to go stale; if that means the sandwiches are small enough that you need to make two or three, fine, make a few of them, just be sure to use good, fresh bread). Most bakeries these days have slicers that will give you nice, uniform slices; avail yourself of this if you can.
- Corned beef. Duh. Make it yourself if possible.
- Sauerkraut. Again, obviously. We intend to experiment with homemade as soon as we are able.
- Cheese. Here’s where we start to diverge from tradition: instead of Swiss, use a good horseradish cheddar. Boar’s Head is surprisingly good, but if you have one you like better, go for it.
- Dressing. Again, here’s some wiggle room. Russian dressing is still good, but we’ve always liked dijon mustard with our corned beef, so we played with Grey Poupon’s deli brown mustard with horseradish. It was fantastic.
The preparation is as important as the ingredients. Leaving the cheese on a sheet of the deli paper, soften somewhat in the microwave; we found about 12 sec to be perfect. While that’s working, spread your mustard on your bread. Put the softened cheese on top of the corned beef (on a plate) and heat the whole thing until the corned beef is hot and the cheese melted (the cheese takes longer to warm than the corned beef; if you were to nuke it all at once, without the preheat, you’d overcook the corned beef). When that’s ready, transfer meat and cheese to one slice of bread. Heat a bit of kraut in a small bowl; drain and place atop meat and cheese, then close the sandwich. (If you have a toaster over to broil things, that’s even better, but we don’t.)
You. Are. Welcome.