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Chef's Corner: Roast Beef Sandwich with Onions & Smokey French Dressing


Tyler Kord is the chef/owner of several restaurants in New York including No. 7 Sub. His A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches is quirky, inventive, and sometimes off-color. A fun read and full of great ideas and flavors. Here is our adaptation of his Don't Cry For Me Argentina sandwich, so named for the love of onions. We loved the book and this sandwich.


And, as a special bonus, our favorite potato salad. For anybody who misses one of the great hamburger joints, we have what we believe to be the original potato salad recipe from Cassell's Hamburgers during its Los Angeles heyday in the latter half of the last century.

 

ROAST BEEF SANDWICH WITH ONIONS AND SMOKEY FRENCH DRESSING + CASSELL'S POTATO SALAD

  • 1 large red or yellow onion (or a mixture of both) for roasting

  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil

  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

  • 1 1/2 cups red onions for pickling, halved and thinly cut

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

  • 4 6" Italian style sub rolls

  • 1 to 2 lbs roast beef, sliced thin

  • Smokey French Dressing (see below)

  • 1/4 cup Southeast Asian fried shallots. If not available the crispy onions that usually go into green bean casseroles are an easily found substitute.

  • 2 scallions, sliced thin

At least 30 minutes before eating (but earlier in the day is better, or you can even do it days in advance), place the pickling onions in a container (we like to use glass jars we keep around for just such a purpose). Add in the vinegar and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Mix thoroughly (we just put the lid on and shake it up).


Pre-heat oven to 450 deg. F.


Slice the roasting onions into 1/2" rings. Precision is not required. In a large bowl, mix the onions, olive oil and 1 tsp. salt. Allow some of the rings to come apart and some to stay together. (Why you shouldn't be picky about the rings? Because some will cook more than others, some will be crispier and some just be baked. Variety is good.). Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.


Pre-heat (or cool down!) your oven to 375 deg. F.


Cut the rolls in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet cut side up. Put equal amounts of roasted onions on each roll half. Bake until the rolls are toasted and onions are warmed through, about 6 minutes.


Put 1/4 to 1/2 lb. of the roast beef on the 4 bottom pieces of the rolls. Top the beef with equal amounts of the French Dressing, then top with equal amounts of the pickled red onions, fried shallots and scallions.


Put the tops of the rolls onto the bottoms and serve. We think a good potato salad, see below, is a wonderful side with this sandwich.

 

SMOKEY FRENCH DRESSING

Mr. Kord's recipe has you smoke the ketchup and if you're not up to that, suggests liquid smoke. We think pimenton perhaps makes even a better substitute. Use more or less to taste, but we do advise restraint.

  • 2 TB ketchup

  • 1 garlic clove, smashed or minced

  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

  • 2 TB mayonnaise

  • 2 TB white vinegar

  • 1 tsp. honey

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. pimenton (smoked paprika)

  • 1-2 TB canola oil, as desired

Combine all ingredients in a bowl (or small blender/food processor) and blend thoroughly.


WINE SUGGESTION: We enjoyed a 100% Petit Verdot from a small producer in Sonoma County (David Coffaro Winery), but just about any meat friendly red wine would be ideal.

 

CASSELL'S HAMBURGERS POTATO SALAD


This recipe was originally clipped from the "Food S.O.S." column of the Los Angeles Times on November 29, 1974. When it comes to the dry mustard, we are fond of the Chinese Hot Mustard from Penzeys Spices. Absolutely not traditional to the recipe, we sometimes add chopped raw onion, just because we like it. We might go heavier on the dry mustard as well. (Truth be told, we don't really measure much when putting this together, we do it to taste.) Many people believe that the recipe contained horseradish. Makes sense, as horseradish and mustard come from the same family of plants.

  • 4 large potatoes, peeled, cubed

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 TB sugar

  • 1 1/4 tsp. dry mustard

  • 3/4 tsp. salt


Cook potatoes until tender. There should be about 2 cups. Combine mayonnaise, sugar, mustard and salt and blend well. Pour over the potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Serve cold or, if wished, turn into a casserole and bake at 325 deg. until hot and bubbly. Makes 6 to 8 servings (or less if you gobble it up like we do; we like it cold).


TIP: A pressure cooker is a great way to cook (by steaming) the potatoes. We use 8 to 10 minutes on high.

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