Tuesday, January 20, 2009
A Nice Sangy
For reasons I have never investigated, my father, who grew up in the Midwest, has a tendency to call a sandwich a “sangy.” He also—again, for reasons uninvestigated—has long called my sister “Bears-o.” (My sister in no way resembles a bear.) Hence, one of the refrains of my childhood was the lunchtime query, “Care for a sangy, Bears-o?”
Often, she did, and yesterday, I did, too. Unfortunately, my father lives hundreds of miles away, and I’m a grown man, so I had to make do on my own. What we’ve got here is a little mother-of-invention-ish, but it’s also a bit indebted to a sandwich creation in a Chicago brewpub called the CB&J, which is a wonderfully lethal fried mush of cashew butter, Morbier cheese, and fig jam, served alongside a coup-de-grâce of macaroni-and-cheese. Lacking all of those things, I settled for this instead.
First, take a nice hunk of sourdough wheat and slice off a couple of nicely matched slices. Smear the outsides with duck fat. (Yes! The year of duck fat continues!) Resist the urge to call it done. Get a nonstick pan going at medium heat—it is, by the way, more or less all right to heat up a Teflon pan with nothing in it, as long as you’re not using super-high heat and put something in it eventually. Put one slice of bread duck-fat-side-down and listen for the sizzle.
While that’s happening, cut a few healthy slices of cheddar—or, if you’re really going for a knockout, Cotswold. Place them on the bread as it’s sizzling. Layer on a few slices of roasted red pepper (jarred is totally fine). Pick up the second piece of bread and smear some globs of jalapeno jelly or other hot-sweet condiment on the side that doesn’t have any duck fat on it, before pressing it down onto the rest of the sandwich (duck-fat-side up!). Once the bottom of the sandwich has browned up, carefully flip the whole thing and give the top side the same treatment, which won’t take long.
Slide the greasy melty darling from the pan and pile some pickles or rice chips on the side. Console your arteries with the thought that…. um, well, there is no consolation for them, actually. Especially if you used the Cotswold.