Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Pastrami Story

If sandwiches are your thing, I bet you would find an authentic pastrami sandwich from a good New York deli to be a truly memorable experience.  One such sandwich made a profound impression on my husband on our last visit there - a full three years ago.  He's been pining for it ever since and decided that - since our kiddos/budget/job/life preclude us from frequent jaunts to the City - he was just going to figure out how to make one for himself.  I thought to myself, what a fun idea!  I didn't realize at the time that the fun idea was actually a rather involved and complicated eight day project.  Yes, I said eight.  No wonder those sandwiches are so good.  The first step is curing the beef brisket in an herb/spice mixture for a few days (with a turn required every 12 hours), then rinsing it, then cold-drying it in the fridge, then rubbing it again, then smoking it, then steaming it, then chilling and slicing it thin.  I mean, seriously?

I take no credit for all of this effort, as I was a mere bystander (and lucky taste tester) on this quest for deliciousness.  But even when I'm not responsible for the prep, I am excited to chat about it and give props to the responsible party.  Way to go, Ryan!! The result was a gorgeous, smoky, intensely flavored, though not quite as tender as intended (you can bet he's going to try it again), pastrami that we piled onto the requisite seedless rye bread with deli mustard and enjoyed immensely.  We thought a deli-type side dish like potato salad would be an appropriate accompaniment; however, I am generally not too roused by the mayo-laden version commonly available.  I located this fab recipe that just screams of acid with vinegar, capers and cornichon, and thought it would be perfect.  Adding a further dimension of complex goodness was the grilling of the potatoes as opposed to the standard boiling.   It was exquisite, and I will store it in my pocket for the future.


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