Pastrami on rye is not just a sandwich. It’s a huge part of New York’s culinary history.
In The Book of New York Firsts, Henry Moscow writes about the origins of pastrami on rye. Its illustrious history began in a New York butchery on the Lower East Side owned by Lithuanian immigrant Sussman Volk.
According to Moscow, Volk had granted use of his ice box to a Romanian friend, who in turn provided Volk with a recipe for pastrami. Volk slapped the meat between slices of rye bread, and a legend was born.
Today, the sandwich is making a resurgence. A long, proud tradition is being given a contemporary taste and has moved from the Big Apple to many other cities across the US.
In the spirit of culinary adventure that doesn’t stray too far from familiar territory, here’s a roundup of 13 contemporary twists on the faithful pastrami on rye.
The California Pastrami Sandwich
Over at California Avocados, this recipe calls for fresh avocado pear and juicy pastrami. Add some sliced Monterey Jack cheese with fried onions, and cradle it all between slices of fresh, healthy rye bread.
Country Cleaver’s Breakfast Reuben
Country Cleaver has prepared an international love affair by marrying the English muffin with pastrami, mayo, ketchup and horseradish. Toast the muffins while sautéing pastrami and heating the sauerkraut. Then, fry two eggs and stack how you like.
Open-Faced Apple Butter Pastrami
Chungah at Damn Delicious has added loads more tasty recipes since this maverick take on the pastrami sandwich from 2013. It was worth trawling the archives to find this, though: an open-faced apple butter pastrami sandwich. Make sure the cheese is melted.
Pastrami on Rye Latkes
Susan at the Girl in the Little Red Kitchen ditches the bread and keeps the pastrami. Her pastrami on rye latkes can be served as a main meal or tasty appetizer. If you’re wondering how to mimic the flavor of rye in the latkes, Susan says it’s all about the caraway seeds.
Pastrami and Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese
Tieghan Gerard at HALF BAKED harvest gets mouths watering with pastrami and dark-beer caramelized onion grilled cheese. Tieghan says it’s a great way to make use of leftover meat, but she and her family prefer spicy pastrami.
Love & Olive Oil’s Bake Pastrami Sandwiches
Taylor at Love & Olive Oil first tried a pastrami sandwich by mistake. Lucky guy. He made the wrong sandwich for a customer when working in California. He managed to eat his mistake and developed a long-lasting relationship with pastrami. All it took was bread, cheese and meat, and Taylor was hooked.
Open Faced Pastrami Sandwich
Nick at MACHEESMO is bringing sweet to the savory with this twist on a pastrami sandwich. It’s about balancing texture and flavor, writes Nick. Cut your pastrami thin, lay it on the bread of your choice, add mustard, fig jam and a couple slices of apple for added sweetness.
The Pesto & Pastrami Panini
The triple P of sandwiches. Kathy at Olives and Garlic adds arugula pesto, mozzarella cheese, an eggplant and the essential ingredient: pastrami. For all the artistry of this meal, it’s relatively quick to prepare. Kathy takes 20 minutes.
Recipe Girl’s Reuben Bread
Lori Lange at Recipe Girl uses corned beef in this baked delight, but feel free to stuff your bread with pastrami instead. This is the Reuben with a twist. It’s not about putting the six ounces of beef, butter, Thousand island salad dressing, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and caraway seeds on the bread. No, this is about putting it in the bread by essentially baking a loaf of Reuben sandwich.
Somewhat Simple’s Baked Pastrami
Stephanie and her team at Somewhat Simple provide a basic recipe with gourmet results. To make the baked pastrami sandwich, you need to slice bread rolls in half, then layer Dijon mustard on the rolls’ top and bottom. Stuff in some pastrami and cheese, and coat the rolls with a mixture of melted butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and poppy seeds. Bake at 350 F for 15 to20 minutes or until heated through.
Pastrami Wrapped Hot Dog
Deborah at Taste and Tell uses meat unsparingly. This is a great bit of carnivorous manna. Wrap a hot dog in pastrami and cover them in Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing.
Natalie Mortimer and Holly Erickson at The Modern Proper use marble rye, which gives additional aesthetic splendor to this sandwich. Described as classic grub food and perfect for game days, Natalie and Holly say. Serve warm from the oven.
Baked Reuben Casserole
Laura at Winner Dinners takes the baking theme a little further by making a pastrami casserole. You will need a bit of time to prepare this beautiful ode to beef. You will also need shaved pastrami or corned beef, rye bread, sauerkraut, chopped dill pickles, eggs, caraway seeds, mustard, Thousand Island salad dressing and Swiss cheese. Line the bottom of a baking dish with the bread cubes, cover with half of the beef, and then start layering. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes or until it sets in the center.
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