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
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
An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
photographs by Chris Callis
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
$45.00; $67.50 (CAN); Hardcover, 400 pages
100 recipes, 150 full-color and 50 black-and-white photographs
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created September 2005
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