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Cookbook review: Tyler Kord's 'A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches' showcases his personality, unique sandwiches

By Tyler Kord  Clarkson Potter, 192 pages, $22.99

A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches

By Tyler Kord Clarkson Potter, 192 pages, $22.99

Take a moment and think about the last sandwich you made.

Was it good? Probably. But was it great?

In Tyler Kord's notes for how to use his sandwich cookbook, A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches (Clarkson Potter, 2016), he says something that seems to anchor his perspective on cooking, and confirms why everyone would benefit from his guidance on making sandwiches: "I don't think there are any two ingredients that can't go together."

He means it. Lychee and broccoli in a sandwich? The chef mashes up these and other ingredients to make many unexpected sandwiches in his new book. They are wild but excellent combinations.

And you don't need to rush to one of his No. 7 Sub shops in New York City to try what he has created. As he notes in the book, when you follow a recipe, it's like someone else is cooking in your kitchen. Kord is your personal sandwich chef, and he's looking out for you. In a recipe for a chorizo and egg sandwich, he instructs you to tuck in the corners of Swiss cheese slices so they don't melt and drip off the English muffin edges, creating a mess on your baking sheet.

A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches will make the humble home cook's sandwich game so much better. Composing a sandwich according to Kord's recipes will teach you how to build a better one. You'll realize his include an element of crunch, salt, sweet, fat, acid and a sauce to tie it all together — even before you get to his final chapter on sandwich construction theory. You'll get in a sandwich rhythm and better understand the varied textures required to take a sandwich from good to great.

Kord kicks off the book with roast beef, but there's no vegetable he won't feature. He tests your love of onions with one sandwich cradling roasted onions, pickled red onions, fried shallots and scallions. More vegetables in sandwiches means more fun, and he has his favorites (broccoli).

The recipes are not especially difficult, but they involve more work than most of us may be used to for a sandwich. Some of the subrecipes have subrecipes. Some people may get super upset about it, but he warned you in the title. That said, you don't necessarily have to make your own mayonnaise or roast a chicken. Pop open that Hellman's jar in the fridge and pick up a rotisserie chicken on your way home. Go ahead and try his recipes for sort-of Mexican chorizo and Canadian bacon or don't. Kord's cool with it, and you should be, too.

This book has convinced me that I should always have a jar of something good in the fridge, and not just for the thrill of having a container labeled Special Sauce. With that already done, I'm one step closer to better sandwiches all the time.

Reading and laughing through the book, it reminded me of the first time I recall doctoring up a sandwich. I'd stack skinny fast-food fries in a chicken sandwich, between the bun and the mayo-dipped lettuce. My habit for tucking salty fries into a sandwich made me appreciate Kord's use of BBQ potato chips.The whimsical recipe writing in this cookbook makes it unlike any I've come across lately. The illustrations and photos match the playful, don't-take-me-seriously tone. Throughout, there are notes from Ten Speed editor Francis Lam, including ongoing banter about other possible titles for the book.Kord touches on British colonialism, Phil Collins and factory farming in the headnotes, and he lets you know how he feels about the price of sandwiches and the ethics of eating meat and seafood. (But there is no holier-than-thou attitude here about what you eat.) He rants about TV chefs and personalities who proudly declare they only work with the best and freshest ingredients. What about everything else? he asks. Bring him your bruised vegetables, your ugly fruit, and Kord would much rather teach you how to make it all taste good.

Ileana Morales Valentine can be reached at ileanamvalentine@gmail.com.

medium

This is a Chicken Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Special Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 4 kaiser rolls, split in half
  • 2 cups shredded roasted chicken or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (recipes in book or use a storebought rotisserie chicken)
  • 4 large slices Fried Eggplant (recipe follows)
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 4 thick slices
  • 2 loosely packed cups arugula

Instructions

  1. Put a little sauce on each half of each roll.
  2. Layer ingredients on the sandwiches in the following order: chicken, a slice of eggplant, a slice of mozzarella, arugula.
  3. Makes 4 of the best sandwiches you have ever had.
Source: A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches by Tyler Kord (Clarkson Potter, 2016)

easy

Special Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (recipe in book or use store-bought)
  • ½ cup whole-grain mustard
  • ½ cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 cup dill sprigs, chopped

Instructions

  1. Mix thoroughly. Keep refrigerated in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid and use this sauce for everything. At the original No. 7 in Fort Greene we currently serve this sauce as a dip for fried baby artichokes and it is totally excellent. It will keep three or four days, longer if your mayo is store-bought. Makes 2 cups.
Source: "A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches" by Tyler Kord (Clarkson Potter, 2016)

easy

Fried Eggplant

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds

Instructions

  1. Put 3 inches of oil in a large saucepan, making sure there are a couple inches of clearance, and heat it over medium heat to 375 degrees on a candy/frying thermometer. (If you don't have one of those, get one. Or look and see if the oil looks really weirdly wavy inside and a bread crumb sizzles instantly when you drop it in.)
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, sesame oil, balsamic vinegar, baking powder, and ¾ cup of cold water until smooth. This is your tempura batter.
  3. Line a plate with paper towels because you don't want to be caught with your pants down after frying eggplant in 375-degree oil.
  4. Put all of the eggplant into the tempura batter and mix it around so that all of the eggplant is totally coated.
  5. With a pair of tongs, pick up a piece of eggplant and let a little of the excess batter drain off. Drop it in the panko and toss to coat. Repeat that process with a couple more pieces of eggplant and, when the oil is ready, turn the heat up to medium high and fry the eggplant, a few slices at a time, for 1 minute. Flip them all and then let them fry for another minute. When they are golden and spectacular, remove them from the oil and let them drain on the paper towel-lined plate. Working in batches, repeat this process with the rest of the eggplant.
Source: "A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches" by Tyler Kord (Clarkson Potter, 2016)

Cookbook review: Tyler Kord's 'A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches' showcases his personality, unique sandwiches 08/15/16 [Last modified: Monday, August 15, 2016 10:34am]
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