Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Reuben Sandwich

The last time I had a Reuben sandwich was in a college cafeteria and it gave me food poisoning. My stomach turned against me and ugly things happened. I couldn't eat solid food for days, subsisting basically on chicken soup and water to get by, and thus formed a little aversion to the sandwich. It's not me, it's my stomach. Which all makes no sense because I love every individual component of the sandwich. That was years ago, and nothing like making something carefully from scratch to turn ingrained food aversions on their heads. But where to begin?

A Reuben is a fairly simple sandwich in theory. It's basically corned beef on rye bread topped with Russian or Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut. The sandwich is then grilled until hot and delicious. Like they always seem to, Saveur has a great standard recipe. Plus you get to make the Russian dressing from scratch. Now, there is a little dispute about whether to use Russian dressing or Thousand Island, and I suppose if you have some Thousand Island dressing hanging out and ready to go, you might as well use that. I do think Russian is a tad more authentic, and that's what is created here. It's real easy.

This is an old school sandwich, and everything has it's place. The creamy dressing balances the sharp tang of the sauerkraut, and the the full flavored rye bread accentuates the cured corned beef. And, of course, the melted cheese brings it all together. My Reuben sandwich famine is officially and deliciously over.

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