Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day #18, #11 Reuben

Today's dinner was the #11, Reuben. This sandwich is made with warm, house boiled corn beef, Switzerland Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on grilled Zingerman's Jewish Rye Bread.

This sandwich is a classic all over the United States. The origin of the sandwich is disputed between two creators- Reuben Kulakofsky from Omaha, Nebraska and Arthur Reuben from New York, New York.

The sandwich is made with either Russian dressing or thousand island dressing. Until I had started working at the Laundry, I had never heard of Russian dressing, so I was interested to see what the difference between the two dressings are.

The recipe for Russian dressing generally calls for a base of either mayo, yogurt, or ketchup.

Traditionally, classic Russian dressing is made with sour cream, a tomato product and caviar, with some pungency, possibly from horseradish. Thousand Island is usually mayonnaise based, with ketchup, relish, pickles, onions or chopped hard boiled eggs added. It's a variant of Russian dressing.

Either dressing is used on the Reuben now but Russian was the original classic. These days most recipes for Russian dressing do not call for caviar, probably because of the price. At the Laundry we use mayo and ketchup as the base for our Russian, but skip out on the hard boiled egg that would be found in Thousand Island. With all the variations to both recipes, it is almost impossible to distinguish between the two dressings.

I was incredibly surprised with how easy this sandwich was to eat. Really, really easy- and with so many ingredients on it that I "don't like" such as Swiss, corned beef, and sauerkraut. Well, I partially take that back- I've never had sauerkraut, only assumed that I wouldn't like it. It's actually pretty good stuff on a sandwich. I absolutely do not eat Swiss cheese, and I could barely even tell that it was Swiss because of all the other flavors in this sandwich. I can see why the Reuben is an American favorite, it's actually pretty good.


  1. That's an easy favorite..looks good.

  2. wow, this looks so good, did you try it with the Russian? or the Thousand Island?

  3. I say any real reuben sandwich is made with Russian. It has a little more of a punch than the thousand island. Plus, places that use thousand island are getting it from a jar. If they say they are using russian then chances are they are making it from scratch.

    Who doesn't like corned beef, swiss cheese OR kraut? Geeez . . . I'm glad you gave this classic some serious consideration. Julia Child is probably both rolling over in her grave and cheering you loudly onward!

  4. True, Russian was the classic dressing on the Reuben, however sometimes you get Thousand Island as a substitute. Ours is made with our own recipe of Russian dressing, from scratch. And who doesn't love cooking from scatch? It's always better in my opinion.
    Thank you for your support!