Foodbuzz and New Belgium Brewing Company invited me to create a recipe using ‘Fat Tire’ Amber Ale. Okay. Okay. They paid me me to do it (yes I am that easy). But my vice could be your virtue. So read on about my Short Rib Sandwich.
I immediately knew I was going to braise something. Because I have braised meats before in New Belgium products and knew it would be perfect with short ribs.
But I have to give further credit for this recipe to Tom Colicchio and his sandwich shop and cook book, both known as ‘wichcraft. Tom and his crew have made me very aware of sandwiches lately. Suddenly where ever I go I see sandwiches. Sandwiches on blogs, in restaurants and right in front of me on my own plate.
Of course sandwiches have always been all around me, but it’s funny how once you are attuned to something (anything really) you start to become hyper-sensitive to its presence. It’s not that there are any more of them than ever before, but suddenly you are more aware of them.
Which is no surprise when it comes to sandwiches. If you stop and think about how many sandwiches have you had in your life, you might be shocked to see what a dominant presence the humble grinder, dagwood, club, submarine, hero, hoagie really is. You probably had at least one a day from age 6 to 18. Because sandwiches reign supreme in grade school lunch pails.
But even adults reach for a sandwich on a regular basis. Breakfast on the run. Lunch for yourself, or dinner when you really don’t feel like cooking. Because a sandwich can incorporate as many different food groups as you like, conveniently nestled between two slices of bread.
But a sandwich doesn’t have to be relegated to a second tier food group. And as good as that day after Thanksgiving sandwich always is. A sandwich doesn’t have to be thrown together from leftovers. It can incorporate all the same aspects as the best dinner party menu. You can use quality artisanal ingredients that are balanced in the same way you’d plan any great meal. Because every element you slip between those layers of bread can and should work together harmoniously, creating a whole more interesting than its individual parts sometimes.
But what makes a truly harmonious sandwich? Well of course taste. A great sandwich should taste great. But taste is a complicated concept. To keep a sandwich from being boring in the taste department you need variety. But variety doesn’t mean haphazard either, think like a chef. No single flavor should overwhelm any single bite. Along those lines don’t forget about texture. Soft bread or crunchy bread? Well that depends on what’s cradled within that bread. So follow your instincts, you know they’re good!
You can’t talk about sandwiches without talking about size. I have said it before and I’ll say it gain size matters! I don’t know when or where sandwich size got out of hand. But nothing is more ridiculous than a great big behemoth of a sandwich. Sandwiches are meant to be portable. They should be able to be held in your hands, preferably even just one hand. Nobody can (or should) eat a colossal mess of a sandwich that could choke a horse.
I think my sandwich, inspired by ‘wichcraft , and using New Belgium ‘Fat Tire” Ale incorporates all these qualities nicely. There are wonderful flavors in the ale-braised meat. It’s made succulent with a slow cooking method and further enhanced with the richness and sharp bite of good cheddar. Speaking of bite. Nothing compliments that fatty full-mouth flavor of beef quite like horseradish. This sandwich uses it liberally. There’s texture too. From the crunch of toasty baguette to the tooth of slightly sour pickled vegetables.
I think it’s a pretty swell little package!
SERIOUS FUN FOOD