Healthy Eating: A lighter take on heavy-duty Reuben
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 9:10 p.m.
Allow me to confess right at the start — this is not your grandfather's Reuben sandwich.
The legendary Reuben of yore was built on corned beef, but I swap that out in favor of smoked salmon. And while I hold fast to the classic version's melted cheese, I lose the untoasted rye bread in favor of a grilled panini. Un-orthodox? Guilty as charged. Scrumptious anyway? See for yourself.
Of course, the idea to begin with was — somehow — to lighten the Reuben, a sandwich that explodes with flavor as you eat it, but then sits in your gut like a rock for days afterward.
Smoked salmon has nowhere near the fat content of corned beef, but — given its high level of omega-3 fatty acids — it's plenty rich for fish. Indeed, it's rich enough to cry out for some kind of acid for balance, just like corned beef. Happily, sauerkraut does the trick for both of them.
Once upon a time, pairing up fish and cheese, as we do here, would have been unthinkable to me. The very idea is a strict no-no in Italian cuisine. It was a Frenchman who persuaded me to reconsider. The gent in question is Eric Ripert, legendary chef at Le Bernardin in New York.
Several years ago, we ran his recipe for salmon croque monsieur in Gourmet magazine. (A croque monsieur is how the French manage to glorify a grilled cheese sandwich.) It quickly became one of the most popular hors d'oeuvres ever served in my dining room.
As for the Reuben's standard Thousand Island dressing, I slimmed it down and spiced it up by using low-fat mayo and chili sauce (instead of the more traditional ketchup), then combined it with chopped dill pickle and a squeeze of lemon. Likewise, when it came time to cook this assemblage, I used extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter.
But why panini? I just happen to think that a pressed sandwich, especially one with cheese, always tastes better than a non-pressed one, probably because of the former's crispy crust. Unfortunately, I don't own a panini machine. It would be yet another piece of equipment vying for a patch of the limited real estate in my kitchen.
Fortunately, I invented my own. I just put my layered sandwich in a skillet, top it with a plate or lid, and top that with a heavyweight can of tomatoes. Voila, panini!
Again, this is not grandpa's Reuben, but I don't think you'll mind. And I know you won't need to take a nap after eating it.
Chef Sara Moulton is a contributing writer to the Associated Press.
Smoked Salmon Reuben Panini
Start to finish: 30 minutes (15 minutes active)
1⁄4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chili sauce (the kind served with shrimp cocktail)
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 slices rye bread
4 ounces thinly sliced Gruyere, fontina or Swiss cheese
4 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon
141⁄2-ounce can sauerkraut, drained, rinsed and gently squeezed to remove excess liquid
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, chili sauce, pickle and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Spread one side of each slice of bread with some of the dressing. Arrange half of the cheese on four of the slices. Divide the salmon, sauerkraut and remaining cheese among the cheese-topped slices of bread and top each with one of the remaining bread slices, spread side down.
In a large skillet over medium, heat the oil until hot. Add the sandwiches and something heavy (such as a cast-iron skillet, flat saucepan lid, or heat-safe plate and a weight such as a can of food) to firmly press the sandwiches down. Cook for 6 minutes per side, or until golden and the cheese has melted. Cut each sandwich in half and serve right away.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 510 calories (260 calories from fat), 29 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 50 milligrams cholesterol, 19 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams dietary fiber, 1850 milligrams sodium
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates trade for Mets 1B Davis
- Crews search for Latrobe woman in Linn Run State Park
- Pittsburgh-area students on the hunt for the perfect prom dress
- Hempfield native, 22, publishes with local independent press
- Man found fatally shot in Larimer a mile away from Homewood peace march
- City Theatre cancels ‘Grounded’ through April 20
- Donald turns down New York invite for NFL Draft
- Survivors in critical condition a day after fifth Armstrong County car crash victim dies
- Sculpture at Phipps links art and sustainability
- NBA commissioner Silver makes raising age limit a priority
- Chat with Dejan Kovacevic: April 18, 2014