Joe’s Killer Sandwich

Sandwiches are a humble medium that can be put to artistic use. I need reminding of that since I’m forever falling into a sandwich rut. Turkey and swiss, tuna salad on rye, those are a couple of my go-to’s. But I’m shaken out of that stupor most Decembers when my Texas aunt and uncle send me one of these bad boys. They are goooood, and the leftovers make fabulous sandwiches. In fact they inspired my one and only contribution to the high sandwich arts, the creation pictured above: smoked turkey with goat cheese, spinach leaves and apricot ketchup on semolina bread.

The apricot ketchup is the real curve ball here, but it seems that most superior sandwiches need at least one very different ingredient. I got this recipe from Recipes from Home, the cookbook from The Home Restaurant, a once-great little eating spot located around the corner from Mrs. Pastry’s old Village apartment. It goes like this:

1 cup dried apricots
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 tablespoons honey
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine all but the honey, salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Simmer until the apricots are soft, about 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool and process in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the honey and salt and pepper to taste. Thin it out with water if it’s too thick. This stuff is great with poultry and pork. It goes into a whole different dimension with 1/2 a cup of Dijon mustard added in (even more interesting with smoked meats that way).

Since it’s leftover season I invite anyone who has a favorite sandwich idea to log it here. I need ideas, friends. The tuna salad really gets old after a while.

17 thoughts on “Joe’s Killer Sandwich”

  1. I’ve made your whoopie pie recipe a few times (last time I used a peanut butter cream cheese filling) and that altered filling made me think about altering the whole thing and making a savory whoopie pie (sans the chocolate too most likely). Crab Salad Whoopie. Fried Oyster Whoopie. Whoopie Slider. I’m going to Maine this summer . . . Lobster Roll Whoopie Pie. Mmmm.

    1. Holy cow, Darren, that’s adventurous thinking. I like it! Just be cautious when you improvise with a New England classic in Maine. You might be greeted as a hero. Alternately they’re still known to break out the tar and feathers from time to time. Be careful!

      – Joe

  2. Never heard of it before I moved here, but folks here tend to use butter (or butter spread) instead of mayo. Man oh man do I like this.

      1. It is, and from what I can tell, probably not so different in how it affects you, might even be healthier depending on the ingredients.
        I plan to make a nice open faced sandwich when I visit… Using butter instead of mayo, some cheese and perhaps some cucumber or sliced boiled eggs or ham. That is another common-when people make them for themselves and its cold. Open faced. I’m all for it, less bread more fillings. Many people use this on them but not me. It is way too fishy for me.

        1. I might need to be sold on the fish rose spread, but Mrs. Pastry certainly wouldn’t. She loves all things from the sea…the fishier the better in most cases. Sometimes I think she’d put anchovy paste on her breakfast cereal if she could. She may want to move to Sweden!

          – Joe

          1. I’ve read the stuff is sold in Ikeas, might have a look. I know the nearest is likely in Georgia if I recall right though… I thought I liked fishy things before I tried that. Definitely an acquired taste.
            I have NOT tried surströmming. not sure if I will if I ever get the chance….I would be more likely to try it than the Icelandic rotten shark though.

          2. There’s an IKEA not far away in Cincinnati. I once lived in Minneapolis where I ate lutefisk on occasion. It’s not bad stuff really, provided there’s lots of beer around. What is it with those far northerners and their nasty old fish I wonder?

            Good luck is all I can say! 😉

            – Joe

  3. Mmmmmmmmmm. Homemade garlic butter. The perfect sandwich spread. With roasted garlic and shallots, fresh grated Parm, fresh ground pepper and if you’re worried about garlic breath (if making party food), some good old fashioned curly parsley. Always including the EVOO you roasted the garlic and shallots in.

  4. If I remember correctly, Mrs. Beeton’s cookbook had lots of recipes for ketchups in her cookbook, but I don’t think tomato ketchup was one of them since tomatoes were not all that common in Victorian times.

    Have you ever tried Henry Bain’s sauce? It’s served with game and originated in Louisville.

    1. Hi Ellen!

      You know I have not, but have seen it on many menus since I arrived in town. It’s one of those things that pops up a lot around Derby time, since it’s a Louisville original as you point out. I’ll make up a batch one of these days soon!

      – Joe

    1. Nice! I’ll try that as soon as I can. You know I often feel guilty about not being much of a blue cheese fan, it’s a blot on my résumé as a food lover. But then there are so many other great cheeses in the world, and a great many make a lovely match with bacon and eggs!


      – Joe

  5. Hi Joe,

    Happy New Year! The best sandwich I have ever made was a rueben. ( The sauce in this recipe makes a ton, but you won’t mind because you will put it on EVERYTHING. It is that tasty! I have made it with different bread and corned beef and that was amazing too. I have swapped out some of the mayo for plain Greek yogurt and that worked great. The sauce is what makes this sandwich so special (or any sandwich!). I may have to make ruebens this week. I’m making myself hungry. 🙂

    All the best to you in the new year!

  6. I made (reheated) a smoked turkey for the first time this Christmas too! Even though it was a Butterball and not locally-sourced (I’m in Germany, and they don’t really do smoked turkey here) it was delicious!

    It may not be a sandwich, but I made these chelsea buns using the leftovers and they were amazing! Basically a sweet roll with cranberry sauce, stuffing, and the smoked turkey. Yum!

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