Makes 4 sandwiches
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total preparation time: 27 minutes
Built of corned beef, melted Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, the Reuben sandwich is a masterpiece of heart-stopping excess, huge not only in flavor but in size. Indeed, as my father-in-law might say, the typical Reuben sandwich is “big enough to choke a horse.” I suppose that trying to invent a less than Rubenesque Reuben was slightly sacrilegious – rather like dreaming of a low-cal version of foie gras – but I thought it might be worth a shot. I substituted both smoked salmon and smoked turkey for the corned beef and – wonder of wonders – found them to be equally delicious. So it’s up to you – choose whichever one suits your mood.
By the way, you can make this sandwich on a panini grill, if you happen to have one. If not, my homemade press works just as well.
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chili sauce or ketchup
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
8 slices rye bread
4 to 6 ounces thinly sliced Gruyere, Italian Fontina, or Swiss cheese
8 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon or smoked turkey
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can sauerkraut, drained, rinsed and gently squeezed dry
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Combine the mayonnaise, chili sauce, pickle, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread one side of each slice of bread with some of the dressing.
Arrange half of the cheese on four of the slices. Divide the salmon, sauerkraut, and remaining cheese among the cheese-topped slices of bread and top each with one of the remaining bread slices, dressing-side down.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat; add the sandwiches and something heavy (such as a cast iron skillet, flat saucepan lid, or heatproof plate and a weight such as a food can) to firmly press the sandwiches down. Cook for 6 minutes a side or until golden and the cheese has melted. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.