Long before I decided to study Culinary arts, I attended the Ontario College of Art and Design. At the time, I had a mild interest in cooking but certainly had no designs on becoming a chef.
In the Grange food court across the street on McCaul, there is a little sandwich shop. The name escapes me (I want to say Gypsy Eatery, but that doesn't seem right) at the moment but no matter. It was there that my film partner and I had Rueben Sandwiches with roasted potatoes. I had never had one before and I loved it. I remember asking where the sandwich comes from and he said it was eastern European. Well, he was wrong but it still tasted great. So simple and yet so flavourful.
There is some debate to the origins of the sandwich. The only definitive fact of origin is somewhere in the USA. It was probably New York. It seems like a New York kind of thing, doesn't it? Others argue Nebraska but for some reason, that doesn't add any appeal to me. As a special on a board, Nebraska-style Rueben Sandwiches simply does not have the same flair as New York-style. But, that's just me.
The sandwich uses corned beef which is usually a brisket cured in a brine. It is usually fairly inexpensive and it keeps for a little longer in your fridge than other meats. However, I must warn anybody about using Spam. Not my personal favourite. Spam is ground beef with gelatin in a can. Mmmm. More information on spam here. And it would certainly add a new, how should I put it, dimension to the sandwich.
Classic Rueben Sandwich
1 Loaf of Rye, sliced (dark or light)
100 ml Thousand Island Dressing
12 Slices of Emmenthal
1 kg Corned Beef, sliced
150 ml Sauerkraut
Half Stick of Butter, room temperateure
On a large griddle, heat beef and sauerkraut.
Butter rye bread and place bread on griddle butter side down. Spread desired amount of dressing on one side of sandwich and top with hot beef and sauerkraut. Top with cheese and remove from heat.
Makes approximately 7 or 8 sandwiches.
A Humble Chef's tip: melt the cheese on the griddle then place on sandwich for faster melting times.
Variation: try the Rachel Sandwich by using Pastrami instead of corned beef. The Rachel also uses Coleslaw instead of Sauerkraut. But, I'm not a fan of it.