A truly fantastic sandwich is a work of art in my book. The space between two slices fo great bread is, in my mind anyway, a canvas on which textures, flavors, and experimentation can all coexist together. It was a Sunday evening and I really wanted a good sandwich, but we had already been to Wawa on our way home from church, so a quick trip seemed unrealistic.
[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”5″ display=”basic_thumbnail” thumbnail_crop=”0″]My fridge contained the regular suspects as far as condiments go, along with a ham steak from a pig my parents had butchered, and a head of cabbage. The pantry was stocked with a fresh loaf of italian bread, honey and few remaining vidalia onions from my last recipe. At last, inspiration struck and from a handful of quality ingredients and the execution of a few simple techniques, this rather massive sandwich for only two adults was born.
In 45 minutes from start to finish, you can easily make 4-5 servings.
1 loaf of bread – italian or ciabatta
1 ham steak – no bone, fully cooked
Honey Mustard Sauce
⅓ c. mayonnaise
1 ½ Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
½ Tbsp. yellow mustard
Dash of garlic powder
2 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish (optional)
Pickled Vidalia Onion
1 small onion – sliced thin
1 ½ – 2 Tbsp. sweetened seasoned mirin or other acid
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 c. cabbage – sliced thin like in coleslaw
2-3 Tbsp. mirin (a staple of Japanese cooking — if you don’t have this, substitute rice vinegar and sugar – 1/2 tsp sugar per tablespoon)
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. salt
- Begin pickling the onion and cabbage. You will want 30 minutes or longer for both of these.
- For the onion, slice into thin sections and then in a mug, or bowl not much wider than the onion itself, create an ice bath. Add the sliced onion, mirin, Worcestershire sauce, salt and red pepper flakes. Place into the fridge for a full 30 minutes. This process will take some of the bite out of the onion and infuse them with flavor as well.
- Once the onions are marinating and tempering in the ice bath, begin your cabbage. Slice into thin ribbons and in a shallow bowl combine mirin, vinegar and salt to the cabbage. Toss and then set aside to marinate
- Assemble the honey mustard sauce by combining all ingredients other than sweet pickle relish, if using.
- Set the grill to high. As the grill is heating up, brush one side of the ham steak with the sauce. When the grill is around 350 – 400, place the steak sauce side down ensuring it will get a good sear and begin to caramelize. After a minute, pull the grill back to medium heat below the ham steak, keeping the other portion of the grill set on high. Being that a ham steak is fully cooked, you are just looking to fully heat the steak though. After a few minutes, peek under to see if you are getting caramelization and grill marks. If so, the steak is ready to flip. Brush with more sauce and flip.
- Slice the loaf fully in half. I suggest using Italian or ciabatta. Brush olive oil, butter, or, yes, mayonnaise and season with salt, pepper, or maybe even everything bagel seasoning if you’ve got some lying around. Place the loaf sliced side down on the hot part of the grill for a few minutes, until it begins to toast.
- While the steak is finishing, and the loaf is toasting, remove your onions from the ice bath and strain excess liquid.
- Add sweet pickle relish to remaining honey mustard sauce if you are using it.
- Remove the bread from the grill. Add a generous smothering of sauce to the bottom, then a layer of pickled onion. Top with ham steak, whole or carved depending on your preference. Add pickled cabbage, remaining onions, and spread the remaining sauce on the top of the bread. Add any other sandwich fillings you may have lying around and perhaps even some sharp cheese to fill out the experience to your liking. Slice into 4-6 generous servings and enjoy.