Otherwise known as, the most high-maintenance sandwich of all time.
About a month ago when I was in Philadelphia, my friend Danielle and I went to a place called Prohibition Taproom for dinner, and I ordered something called the “lamb grilled cheese.” It was described as braised leg of lamb with eggplant, swiss chard, and goat cheese.
By no one’s definition would this be considered a grilled cheese, because there was none of the melty goodness that you get from provolone or white American. But it still sounded like a bomb-ass sandwich, so I ordered it.
In the moment I mostly ignored said sandwich because Danielle and I were both heavily focused on what were, hands down, the best french fries I’ve ever had in my life. They were thin and crispy and absolutely covered in salt, garlic, and something green. Probably parsley but who cares. I would have licked the plate if we weren’t sitting so close to another couple.
But because I feel that I have no hope of ever re-creating the amazing fries, I thought I would try the sandwich instead.
I went to Wegmans this week in hot pursuit of a leg of lamb to braise. As it turns out, they only had this in their organic section and it was going to cost me $40. Fine if this is Christmas dinner for your whole family, but when I’m going to cook the crap out of it in my crockpot and then put it on a sandwich? No.
So I settled for short ribs. While still on the pricier side, they were still about 1/4 of what I would have paid for that leg. Moral of the story is, use whatever cut of meat is on sale that is braise-worthy. (Like praise-worthy! Get it? No.) This would be a great use for any leftover roast you might have. If you make a roast on Christmas Day, or something.
In my house I’ll probably try to make something fancy and exciting and then Kevin will demand a bagel instead. Such is life.
Short ribs! I think I mentioned that there is an amazing market across the street, and it’s one of two places in Baltimore (and the world?) that serves the Waverly Local Oyster Stout, which is the GS’ favorite beer. So I made him toddle over there and ask for a big glass of it, preferably with a lid. Mission accomplished.
I seasoned the short ribs on both sides with salt and pepper, seared them in some vegetable oil, and then dumped them in the crock pot with the beer for about 6 hours. He was allowed to drink the rest of the beer.
For all the other stuff on this sandwich: goat cheese is a must. But if you hate it, you can use another cheese. Maybe something milder, but I liked that I could use the goat cheese as a kind of spread on the bread. I subbed kale for the swiss chard, and just sauteed it with some garlic. The trick is to throw a little water in the pan and then put the lid on, so that it softens up with the steam.
Now for the eggplant. My plan was to bread and fry the eggplant. I don’t remember how they did it at Prohibition because as I said, FRENCH FRIES. But the GS loves nothing more than an eggplant cutlet, so I went in that direction. I realized that I only had one egg left in my refrigerator, and made the executive decision that that egg needed to be allocated to cookie dough.
So after scanning my fridge I was all like “Hey, so I read recently that you should actually use mayonnaise before the breadcrumbs instead of egg. Something about how it sticks better. Plus mayo is just eggs and oil so it makes sense.”
(Why does he care? He doesn’t.)
And then, after looking at its gloppy consistency, “But you’re supposed to water it down a little… with water… yup I’ll just whisk some water into the mayo here to thin it out a little.”
Him: “It looks like actual glue.”
Me: “Exactly!! Glue for the breadcrumbs!!”
Guess what, ladies? LYING PAYS OFF. The watered down mayo worked like a charm for frying eggplant, and I may never go back to using eggs. I don’t care what you think.
Immediately after dinner I confessed my lie to the GS and he confirmed that he didn’t care at all, that it was a dumb lie, and was there any leftover fried eggplant?
Assembly: toasty bread, schmeared goat cheese, garlicky kale, eggplant round, MEAT.
This was so good. The meat tasted vaguely stout-like, but not overwhelmingly so. Nice kick from the goat cheese, and then the kale and eggplant added good texture and flavor. It was 100% worth the effort.
Maybe my new year’s resolution should be to try to replicate the french fries!
Or stop making up dumb lies about mayonnaise. Either one.