July 1, 2015, is a date that will live in infamy. The state of Texas was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the Twitter and blog forces of the New York Times Empire’s food section, whose heinous guacamole recipe is, without a doubt, one of the most alarming and disgusting weapons of mass destruction ever unleashed in the history of mankind:
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 1, 2015
With those eight words, and that horrid recipe, war was launched between the culinary forces of two great nations. Peagate had begun. So here is our plan of attack. It’s a simple one, but we believe it will be effective: We asked Texas-bred chefs living everywhere from San Antonio to Dallas to the very belly of the Gotham beast to chime in with amazing and breathtaking spins on classic New York dishes.
And we welcome contributions from more of you: take a New York classic, add one or two Texas ingredients, smugly tell the world to “trust you” and away we will go. Unlike pea-befouled guacamole, some of these dishes might even be edible, delicious even. You be the judge.
Dena Peterson Shaskan owns Dallas-Fort Worth boutique catering company Bravo. The Fort Worth native took a break from whipping up global cuisine for her clients to reimagine a New York standard — a chicken-fried Reuben sandwich.
Peterson Shaskan writes:
If we’ve learned anything from the State Fair of Texas, it’s that breading and deep frying makes everything better. New Yorkers have apparently been making this sandwich wrong all along. The crispy outer coating seals in the drippy Thousand Island dressing and corned beef juices, giving the old Monte Christo a run for it’s money.
Sandwich conceived by John-David Bartlett
2 slices rye bread
2 teaspoons butter, softened
2 slices Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons Thousand Island or Russian dressing
¼ cup sauerkraut, drained
4 ounces thinly sliced corned beef
1 cup whole milk
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 cups canola or vegetable oil for deep frying
Heat a medium to large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Don’t have a cast-iron skillet? You must be a Yankee. Go borrow your neighbor’s for this.
Heat the skillet over medium heat. Spread the butter on one side of each piece of bread. Place buttered side down in the pan. Spread each slice with the Thousand Island, then layer on the cheese. Place the sauerkraut on one piece of bread, then the corned beef on the other. Cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden-brown. Close the sandwich, smash it a little bit to make sure the cheese has glued it all together, then place on a plate. Place the plate in the freezer. Yes. The freezer.
Don’t turn off the stove! Go ahead and pour that vegetable oil into it and get it heating up!
While your plain, old New York-style Reuben is chilling, prepare the breading. Whisk the milk and eggs together in a bowl and place the flour, salt and pepper in a bag. If you are not sure what kind of bag to use, if you are a New Yorker, look for the Duane Reade plastic bags. If you are a Texan, reach for the HEB paper bag – use whatever! Shake the flour and seasonings together.
Remove the chilled sandwich from the freezer and dip it in the egg and milk mixture, making sure that all surfaces are coated. Now place the sandwich in the flour mixture and shake the bag gently to and fro coating every bit of wetness with flour. Now do that again – back in the egg mixture then into the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour and place into the hot oil. Cook over medium heat until golden brown, then carefully flip to cook the other side. Remove to a plate, cut in half, and if you are like every other Texan, serve it with ranch.