Pitchers and Catchers; Ham on Rye

How ’bout those 2016 Mets?

Here’s a sandwich and beer pairing to get your P’s and C’s in sync this March.


Take two slices of black or Russian rye bread from a loaf no smaller than the Catskills and no older than the Urals, sliced with great magnanimity.

Put a couple of patties of butter in a stainless steel frying pan, turn the heat up high enough to melt the butter until it sizzles.

Tumble those slices of bread face down in the butter, and make sure to rub it in like a good friend. Be sure the butter is impounded in the bread like your first car on alternate-side Monday.

Get the church key down from the fridge door and open yourself a beer. It’s got to have some hoppiness, but don’t go too far over the Rockies. In fact, probably consider something with a little bit more of a Bohemian terroir. As in Saaz. Or malty gravitas. Maybe a maibock.

Slice a firm, blush tomato. Cold, lightly salted (naturally). An heirloom would do – I like the bruisy flesh and farmers-tan of the Black Krim cultivar. I like the sound of it. I am not sure that I’ve actually tried a Black Krim. Regardless –

Separate some fresh dill from the stem; mince if needed.

A hand or two of refreshed, cold lettuce, beady with ice water is sufficient. Have those ready.

I like loose, homey dijon. Maybe you do too…? Break that out of the cooler, too. You’ll want a spoon with which to lift the mustard out of its vessel. Or two good fingers, cold-cream like.

I had some rosemary and lemon hummus (not hommos) in the fridge, but no mayo. Kellie is allergic to egg, so mayo isn’t usually a condiment we stock at our house. Choose a condiment to top your sandwich, or don’t.

Pickles, anyone? Now’d be the time.

Okay – the chernozem loaf is overturned and seared to brittleness around the crust. Time to take those out of the pan and set your over to 200º F. Start layering toppings – tomato first, then lettuce, then swiss cheese (obviously, though havarti’ll do), then the mustard, dill, pickles, and hummus or mayo.

My wife and son are vegetarian, so I used some Trader Joe’s masala burger patties in lieu of (real or fake) meat, and the effect was quite pleasant. I used smoked black forest ham, and it was just what the afternoon called for in such a robust altische delicatessen context.

Get your other handle of bread ready and close the deal.

Use the palms of your big, brawny hands to crush down on everything – gingerly, if you’re using aforementioned masala burgers, though they’re perfectly delicious smashed to chaaty bits.

Cut in half and cook until the cheese gets soft and gooey – not much longer.

Serve immediately, with whatever you’ve got left of that beer.

photo (5).JPG
In honor of yesterday’s Nebraska caucus, I dub this ham-on-rye variation the “Bucaucuski”

That’s that. Sit down and prop those elbows up as a reward for shedding such grease on a Sunday afternoon.

Oh yeah, you’d do well to read about goat glands and the wonderful Dr. Brinkley, after whom this crisp, Good Monday-through-Friday Maibock is named.

And play some Bud Powell, loud.



2 thoughts on “Pitchers and Catchers; Ham on Rye

  1. …I’m mystified about my half of that sandwich I had made…I don’t remember eating it, yet, it’s not in the fridge at all…


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