Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mark Bittman's Ultimate Super Bowl Sandwich

Mark Bittman is one of my favorite food writers. He is "The Chosen One" that gets to share his love of food with us every week in the New York Times Magazine. Last week he posted a brilliant Frankenrecipe for an extraordinary sandwich. I call it "Frankenrecipe" because he has taken body parts from other recipes and sewn them together to create this monster sandwich.

This is no ordinary sandwich. To give it perspective, let's start with a Jimmy John's sandwich...the tin standard. This sandwich is to a Jimmy John's as a Bugatti Veyron is to a '73 Plymouth Duster. This sandwich is to a Jimmy John's as a magnum of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild is to a bottle of Ripple. This sandwich is the stuff of legend. It will take a little bit of work on your part, but such is the price of greatness.

First off, let's talk bread. I'm a huge fan of the artisan loaves sold at Costco. Roasted Garlic or Rosemary Olive Oil will certainly fill the bill. Incredible crunchy crust with a moist, soft center. You get two loaves for $4.99. They sell so fast that you are all but guaranteed piping hot bread fresh from the oven.

Next up is the meat. Mark makes a great call here by selecting rare roast beef, cooked mostly with the oven off. Yes, it sounds weird, but it works to perfection. Hang with me and it will make sense to you once you get into the recipe.

Okay....we have our bread and we have our meat. Next up is the sauce: Henry Bain Sauce. You can't buy can only make it. Henry Bain (1863-1928) was one of the first employees and eventually a legendary head waiter at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky, which was founded in 1881. He created his famous sauce for both steaks and local game animals. Club members liked it so much that they would bring their fresh kills to the club after a day of hunting in the nearby woods. To this day, it is served at the Club and enjoyed by its members and guests. So unless you live in Louisville and are a member of the Pendennis Club, you are required to make your own Henry Bain Sauce from scratch.

Last but not least are the sandwich condiments. For this, Mark tapped the Sandwich King of New York, Tyler Kord. Tyler owns No.7 Sub in Manhattan and Brooklyn and has come up with a unique condiment recipe he calls Pico de Lettuce. This is a marvelous combination of romaine lettuce, garlic, red onion, lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil.

To complete the sandwich, you simply combine all of the Frankenparts. Here's how to make those:


One, 3-pound beef roast, top, eye or bottom round
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 500ยบ.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes to create a paste. Rub paste all over roast. Place roast  in a roasting pan or cast iron skillet, fat-side up, and put in oven. Cook undisturbed for 15 minutes (5 minutes per pound).
  3. After 15 minutes, turn oven off. Do not open oven door. Leave roast to continue cooking, undisturbed, for 2 hours.
  4. After 2 hours, remove roast from oven. Slice thinly.


1/3 cup mango or peach chutney, best available
4 tablespoons of your favorite steak sauce
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons chili sauce
2 tablespoon ketchup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Hot sauce, to taste (start with 1 tablespoon)
4 tablespoons chopped watercress, optional  

  1. In a small pot set over medium heat, stir all the ingredients except the watercress. Heat until slightly thickened, then remove from heat. Allow to cool and refrigerate until ready to use. 
  2. Just before serving, if you like, stir chopped watercress into the sauce.


1  small head romaine lettuce (dark green leaves discarded), cut into chiffonade (long, thin strips)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 small red onion, or half a medium-size one, peeled and sliced very thin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Pinch of salt   

  1. Put the lettuce into a medium-size nonreactive bowl. Set aside.
  2. In another small nonreactive bowl, combine the other ingredients and whisk to emulsify. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Mix together the lettuce and the dressing and allow to sit, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Drain off some of the juice that will accumulate at the bottom of the bowl. 

Pairing: An ice-cold glass of ale


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