Actor Kyle MacLachlan is known for a handful of things — among them, his role in David Lynch's Twin Peaks (and the forthcoming reboot) and his love for wine. But MacLachlan has also said some wise words about sandwiches: "If I’m going to make... a sandwich, I will take the extra time to make it a great sandwich instead of just an average sandwich. I don’t mind investing a little extra work to make something special."
With those words in mind, consider this recipe for a zucchini parmesan sandwich from New York City-based chef Tyler Kord's new book, out now, A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches. (NB: The book is not actually upsetting in any way.) Kord is the chef and co-owner of No. 7 Sub, a modern sandwich institution in a city bursting with subs, dips, melts, and tartines, so it's safe to say he knows his way around stuff inside of bread. This recipe for Kord's zucchini parm is ideal for any season, but when made ahead of time and chilled, it's actually even better.
Zucchini ParmMakes 4 sandwiches or makes 1 hot sandwich and 3 of the best cold sandwiches. Seriously, this sandwich after a day in the fridge is like the world's greatest cold pizza.
This is one of the most popular sandwiches at No. 7 Sub. It's stayed on the menu longer than any other sandwich, and it will probably remain on the menu forever. It's just an eggplant parm, but I swapped out all of the ingredients. So it has fried zucchini instead of fried eggplant, fontina cheese instead of mozzarella, a sweet onion puree instead of tomato sauce, pickled jalapeños (because the acidity of the pickle makes up for the lack of acidity in the onion puree), and BBQ potato chips just because I wanted them. Did I mention that the Zucchini Parm is one of my all-time favorite sandwiches? I know this isn't very humble, but it's just one of those things that, while you know it's going to be good because you traded out the ingredients of something classic, and theoretically it's sound, it actually ends up transcending the original and making the angels in heaven punch each other in the mouth. That's when you know that you've done something right.
4 sub rolls, split lengthwise
½ cup onion puree (see below)
1½ pounds Fried Zucchini
½ pound fontina cheese, sliced thin
½ cup Pickled Jalapeños
2 cups BBQ potato chips
Preheat the broiler.
On a baking sheet, arrange all of the bread halves cut side up. Put a tablespoon of onion puree on each piece.
On the bottom piece of each loaf, lay down some zucchini. Go big, because it's zucchini and it's cheap. Can we talk for a second about "cheap"? Everybody thinks that an $11.75 sandwich is expensive.
That's what we charge, and we don't make any money. And do you know why? It's because if you use real ingredients and pay somebody a reasonable wage to make sandwiches, you will not make any
money. Everybody likes to talk about how you can still go to that place on the corner and get a $3 sandwich. And the truth is that you can, but their ingredients are garbage, and growing and shipping them is destroying the Earth, and the dude that is making your sandwich is making $6 an hour. Enjoy that fucking $3 sandwich. I am content to be broke and do you know why? It's because if you use real ingredients and pay somebody a reasonable wage to make sandwiches, you will not make any money. Everybody likes to talk about how you can still go to that place on the corner and get a $3 sandwich. And the truth is that you can, but their ingredients are garbage, and growing and shipping them is destroying the Earth, and the dude that is making your sandwich is making $6 an hour. Enjoy that fucking $3 sandwich. I am content to be broke and do something awesome. At some point I will have to charge $15 for a sandwich. And we will go out of business, and I accept that. But at least I will sleep well at night.
But back to zucchini! Lay some fontina on that zucchini. Put both sides of all of the sandwiches under the broiler, meaning the fully loaded bottom, as well as the top that only has sauce on it. Cook it until the cheese is all melty and rad.
Pull everything out of the oven and top the cheesy zucchini side with pickled jalapeños and BBQ potato chips. Put the tops on and serve, while wondering if the food we buy and eat is expensive enough. I get it, you can't spend all of your money on food or it will make your life more difficult. But if you're not
spending enough money on food, then you are making somebody else's life more difficult. Now I'm
super bummed out, and I think I may have ruined one of my favorite sandwiches with the reality of the restaurant industry.
Onion PureeMakes about 2 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 pound Vidalia onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add your chosen vegetable and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable is cooked but not caramelized. If it looks like it's going to start caramelizing, turn the heat down or splash in a little water. The carrot in particular will need a little water during the cooking process.
Once the vegetables are completely tender and the water is cooked off (the onion should take about 15 minutes, the squash about 10, and the carrot more like 20), transfer them to a blender.
If you have a fancy Vitamix, you can just attack and puree, using the plunger to keep things moving. But if you have a regular blender the veggies will be too thick and the blade of your blender will simultaneously "frappé" a little bit of veggie and push everything else away. The easy solution is to add just enough water so that the puree is unimpressed by the blender's coy reaction. The only problem with this is your puree will be a little runnier on your sandwich. There are worse problems in the world, so if this is a big one for you, maybe just ask your private chef to make you dinner? The other option is to puree, then stop the blender and use a rubber spatula to push the veggies back down into the blender. Turn the blender on again and repeat. This will take a little while, but you will get a thick and creamy puree that will make soccer more interesting. I'm just kidding. Nothing can make soccer more interesting.
Season the puree to taste with salt, and cool it down by placing it in a bowl set in another bowl of ice water.
Courtesy of Clarkson Potter. Cover photo copyright © 2016 by Noah Fecks.
Photos: Reprinted from A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches. Copyright © 2016 by Tyler Kord. Photos copyright © 2016 by Noah Fecks. Artwork copyright © 2016 by William Wegman. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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