Friday, October 30, 2009

Carnegie Deli? They don't have pizza!

But...they do have Reubens.

My husband loves a Reuben. There is a better than average chance that if there is a Reuben on the menu, he'll be hip-deep in corned beef or pastrami in the very near future. He would sell his soul for good sauerkraut, so it's really his sandwich Nirvana.

Therefore, a Reuben pizza had to be pretty damn good. It had to hit all the highpoints, and not leave him wishing he had his toasty deli masterpiece.

That just begs one question. How can you make a Reuben on a pizza crust? What about the rye bread? Is this even allowed?

While there are probably deli men in every corner of New York who will say “no way,” I’m here to tell you differently. A Reuben is about so much more than the bread. It’s the subtle blending of very different flavors in one delicious overstuffed sandwich. If you’ve got the pastrami, the sauerkraut, the cheese, the dressing, you’ve got a Reuben, whether you’re eating it on a nice piece of marble rye, or a flour tortilla. (But if you want a pizza that’s truly out of this world, grab a box of bread-machine rye mix and whip up a caraway-laden crust that’s to die for.)

1 pizza crust (pre-baked works best here, or else add a 10-minute baking at the beginning)
½ pound Swiss cheese, sliced
1 ½ pound corned beef or pastrami, sliced thin
1 c. sauerkraut (or cole slaw)
2 large kosher dill pickles, sliced thick
½ c. Russian or Thousand Island dressing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pizza crust on baking sheet. (This is where you are adding your first baking if you are starting with dough instead of crust.) Top with cheese. Bake just until cheese is melted but not brown, about 5-7 minutes.

Top crust with corned beef. Spread with sauerkraut. (For some people, a Reuben’s not a Reuben unless it has cole slaw. If that’s you, go for it.) Scatter top with pickle slices. Drizzle with dressing. Slice and serve. (Want your Reuben cheesier? A second layer of cheese on top at the end and a quick trip back to the oven make for a great pie, and I think it even slices better.)

Variation: Rachel Clare – Substitute Monterey jack or pepper jack for the Swiss cheese. Substitute smoked turkey for corned beef. Add roasted red peppers with pickles.

Extra Extra!!!

The seedy side of rye bread – It’s a long-time deli favorite, but rye bread has a dark side…and I’m not talking pumpernickel. Rye grain is susceptible to a fungal growth called ergot. When heated, it changes chemically to the compound “ergotamine,” a powerful toxin related to LSD. But is this really dangerous? Ask the experts. Some modern scientists have blamed ergot blights on rye crops for everything from a medieval convulsion disorder called St. Anthony’s Fire to the Salem witch trials. Today the grain is carefully screened to prevent it from ending up on your turkey sandwich, but it isn’t gone. Doctors use derivatives to treat patients for bleeding and migraines.

1 comment:

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