The Perfect Sandwich

One of the problems with sushi bars is that they have weaned us away from enjoying cooked fresh tuna. I know some restaurants serve grilled tuna studded with black pepper or accompanied by some exotic fruit salsa – de rigueur for any California joint that sells fresh fish. But really that’s about all the variety you get in most joints. But you are really missing something if you haven’t tried a real tuna fish sandwich. The great thing about sautéing tuna is that it really soaks up the flavors in which it is cooked. Here’s a recipe I have every summer during albacore season but you can use any fish in the tuna family. This recipe borrows from Italy, Mexico and Japan.

fishpic2.jpgTuna Ingredients

12-16 ounces of fresh tuna cut into 2 equal pieces
juice of 2 medium lemons
2 minced garlic cloves
2 green onions cut into about 1/4 inch pieces
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (about an inch piece grated)
2 roma tomatoes thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced Kalamata olives
1 small to medium minced jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher or coarse salt
2 tablespoon sherry or sake
olive oil or grapeseed oil

 

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From New York Magazine 

09_sandwichoftheweek_lg.jpgNot that anyone needs to be reminded, but April is National Grilled-Cheese Sandwich Month. In honor of this auspicious occasion, we bring you our picks for New York’s best grilled cheese, from Keller-crafted high to Kraft-oozing low.

1. ’wichcraft - 397 Greenwich St., at Beach St.; 212-780-0577
Fontina with black-trumpet mushrooms and white-truffle fondue is such a grown-up grilled cheese, you should be carded at the door.

2. Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop - 174 Fifth Ave., nr. 22nd St.; 212-675-5096
This twenties coffee shop oozes so much Old New York charm that we’d happily tuck in to some Velveeta on a Ritz if that’s what it was offering. The fact that the sandwiches — including the grilled cheese — are first-rate is a bonus.

3. Comfort Diner - 214 E. 45th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-867-4555
They get ahead of themselves here, celebrating with a different grilled-cheese sandwich every day during the month of February. But you can still get a good classic any time of the year.

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chickensandwich.jpgHow did chicken sandwiches become so popular in the U.S.? Supply and demand. The emergence of large scale chicken processing companies such as Perdue and Tyson in the 1920’s and 1930’s respectively, helped propel chicken’s popularity in America. With such easy availability, chicken prices decreased, consumption increased, and chicken became a steady part of the American diet.

With many families cooking whole chickens, leftovers became standard lunch fare. Sliced leftover chicken meat became a favorite filling for sandwiches (and was the original filling for the classic club sandwich).

Fast food chicken sandwiches as we know them originated in 1967, when Truett Cathy, founder of the Atlanta based restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, introduced the chicken sandwich -- a perfectly crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside breaded boneless breast of chicken served on a toasted buttered bun with dill pickle chips. Whether it's fact or fiction, Cathy claimed that pickles were the only condiment he had on hand, and to his delight, were a big hit with consumers. Other fast food chains quickly followed suit. Then in the late 1980's and early '90's the grilled chicken sandwich emerged as a healthier alternative to the fried original.

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mexitorta.jpgSeems the latest food trend is food trucks, more specifically gourmet food trucks. Or as one San Fransisco owner calls his, "mobile bistro." From LA to Austin to NYC, dozens of urban, hip food trucks are charming epicureans with fare ranging from duck dumplings to pavlova with red fruit gelée. Hotdogs and hamburgers have been usurped by their more politically correct cousins, organic free-range chicken and grass-fed beef.

But what about the old food trucks and carts? You know the ones -- the quintessential LA taco trucks and the hot pretzel carts run by a gruff guys named Sully or Bobby. Are they being squeezed out? Last March in East LA, Mexican food truck owners, under fire from restaurants who claim they're hurting business, began a campaign called "Save Our Taco Trucks."

Personally, I'd like to see both camps succeed. Because, let's face it, getting affordable, healthful, organic meals from a food truck is terrific. So is getting an artery clogging carne asada (marinated steak) torta when the craving strikes.

 

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scones.jpg My mother stayed with us during her recent visit from back east.  She emerged early each day from the back bedroom in need of coffee.  In the kitchen she would find me up to my elbows in three-grain biscuit dough or in the midst of mixing a large oven baked pancake, or perhaps dropping oatmeal scones onto a cookie sheet.  I was always in the midst of something made from scratch, time consuming and terrifically messy. 

A ritual that was met with a quizzical look and her quiet reproach, as if I couldn’t hear her say, “Nu? Whats wrong with frozen waffles?” My childhood breakfasts came straight out of a box from the freezer in the cold mid-western kitchen where I grew up.  My mother taught in downtown Detroit, and early morning school days were mostly about getting up and getting out. Yet, somewhere in between the up and out part, I remember a breakfast ritual that my mother and I shared, just her and I, before she left for work. 

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