Like many classic dishes, the Reuben sandwich has multiple origin stories: Some accounts trace its origins to the since-shuttered Reuben’s delicatessen in New York City, where Arthur Reuben created a special for one of Charlie Chaplin’s leading ladies in 1914, using ham, turkey, Swiss cheese and coleslaw on rye. Another origin story points to a customer, Reuben Kulakofsky, who was said to have ordered a corned beef and sauerkraut sandwich at Blackstone Hotel, in Omaha, where Bernard Schimmel obliged by rounding it out with Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese, rye bread and a hot grill. Today’s Reuben sandwiches feature corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and a healthy smear of Russian dressing between toasted, buttered rye. Homemade dressing has a brighter, fresher flavor than the bottled variety, and comes together in just a few turns of a whisk. To achieve the prized crispy crust and gooey cheese, keep the heat low enough to allow the buttered bread to toast while the cheese melts.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ½cup mayonnaise
- 5tablespoons ketchup
- 3tablespoons dill pickle relish (not sweet)
- 1tablespoon minced onion
- 1teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 8slices rye sandwich bread
- 4tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1pound thinly sliced corned beef
- 1cup drained sauerkraut (about 6 ounces)
- 8slices Swiss cheese (about 6 ounces)
Step 1Make the Russian dressing: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
Step 2Make the sandwiches: Spread one side of each bread slice with 1/2 tablespoon butter. In a large nonstick skillet, arrange 2 slices of bread, buttered side down, over medium-low heat. Spread 2 tablespoons of Russian dressing on each slice of bread, then top each with 1/4 pound corned beef, 1/4 cup sauerkraut and 2 slices cheese. Top each with 1 slice of bread, buttered side up. Cook until golden and crispy underneath, about 5 minutes. Flip the sandwiches and cook, pressing down gently with a spatula, until second side is golden and cheese melts, about 3 minutes more. Transfer sandwiches to plates and wipe out skillet. Repeat with the remaining bread, sauce, corned beef, sauerkraut and cheese. Serve warm.