My boys didn’t like sauerkraut growing up. That was OK though, when they were little I just told them those taste buds hadn’t grown in yet. And they believed me. (A small fib but that’s what moms do). I said that about most things they weren’t fond of, but over the years, I kept introducing them to this or that, in different ways…and sauerkraut was one of them. Starting somewhere in their mid-teens, they began to adore this sandwich. So if you’re afraid of a Reuben because of the kraut, I encourage you to try it again, just put on a hint of kraut or, leave it out all together and it still makes a fabulous combination of flavors and textures.
Grilled to perfection with shaved corn beef, creamy melted swiss, a bit of kraut for tang and crunchy texture and the sweet salty of the thousand island dressing. It’s in my top 5 sandwiches.
There are two tricks to making this sandwich soar. First, it’s the temperature of your pan. You want a medium hot griddle pan or fry pan, no warmer. The sandwich will take longer to cook, but it shouldn’t burn and the fillings will heat nicely. You’ll need to babysit it a bit to get it off the grill pan at the perfect moment. The second trick is where you place it once you get it off the stove - put it on a baking rack or cooling rack and let it sit a moment in order for the filling to set up a bit. If you slice right into it, the inside of the sandwich will fall apart a little. Putting it straight on a plate or cutting board to let it set up allows the crust underneath to get soggy. And that would be a shame. After 5 minutes or so of letting it set up, then slice in half or thirds with a sharp serrated knife in a back and forth motion. If you press straight down on it with the knife, it will smoosh your bread, that’s no good either.
Super simple ingredients!
Your preference of bread. I like marbled rye or pumpernickel.
Thousand Island Dressing
Sliced Swiss Cheese
Sauerkraut - drained and squeezed dry with a paper towel
Sliced corn beef (I also use pastrami)
Get all your stuff ready to make a sandwich assembly line. Liberally smear the thousand island on one side of the bread, then a few slices of swiss, then mounds of the corned beef, then a thin layer of kraut (or more depending on your preference) on top of that, then another layer of cheese. Now the top goes on with thousand island on the interior side of the bread and once it’s placed on your filling butter the top of it. Carefully flip the sandwich on the grill pan so the butter side is down and once it’s on the stove you can butter the top side so it’s ready when it’s time to flip. The other cooking method with the butter is one I like better, however it uses a bit more butter. Don’t butter the bread at all. Butter the pan. The restaurants I’ve worked in do it this way. Generously butter one section of your warmed fry or grill pan, it should bubble up and talk to you, then place your sandwich on this little pool of buttered area. Slide the sandwich around a little when it hits the butter to make sure all sections of the bread have been covered. When it’s time to flip, you simply place your sandwich aside for a minute, put in more butter to coat the other side, then flip it. Remove from heat when it’s the perfect toasted color, let cool on a cookie rack and set up a few minutes. Then slice and enjoy! So easy and yummy.