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1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup labneh or sour cream
2 Tbsp tomato ketchup
1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp Ararat N35
1 pound of pastrami or corned beef, whole (I prefer the fattier and more flavorful point/second cut, ask at the deli)
Two slices of rye bread
2/3 cup sauerkraut, drained
8 very thin slices of Swiss cheese
Spicy brown mustard
Chives or scallions
Combine all ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning and proportions to your tastes. You can add more lemon juice if you like, vinegary hot sauce, more Ararat, etc. It should be smoky, lightly sweet, and taste light and fresh.
Add the pastrami to a steamer over plenty of water and gently steam until softened and warmed through (about 30 minutes).
In a toaster oven or under the broiler lightly toast the bread.
Remove the pastrami to a cutting board and slice it across the grain into 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices, as you prefer.
Add a thin layer of Swiss cheese to cover the toast and toast to melt.
Top each piece of toast with about half of the pastrami slices, a dollop of Ararat dressing, 1/3 cup of sauerkraut, the remaining Swiss cheese, and a sprinkle of Ararat.
Toast or broil just until the cheese is melted.
Serve with cornichons, spicy brown mustard, and more dressing flecked with chives. I like to also serve a slice of two of the plain pastrami as a taster.
• If you make your own pastrami, the flavor and texture will be superior to almost anything you can buy. Plus you can add some Ararat N35 to the spice crust for another layer of flavor.
• If you can't get great rye bread try adding a bit of ground caraway to the sauerkraut to compensate.
• I like using the flavors of this dish to inspire salads. Make croutons with rye bread, mustard, and either ground caraway or some of our Iris N9 blend. Chop iceberg lettuce, red onion, and cornichons and chill. Pan fry chopped cabbage until softened and sweet and dress with vinegar and lemon. Steam the pastrami and cut into cubes. Mix everything and toss with Ararat dressing and cubes of Swiss cheese, then top with chopped scallions. If you'd like to make this preparation dairy-free you can easily do so by omitting the labneh in the dressing and the Swiss. Thin the dressing with more mayonnaise or ground hydrated cashews, and add toasted tamari almonds to the salad.
• The Ararat dressing is delicious as an alternative to remoulade, especially spread on bread when making an oyster po boy. Try it also on hotdogs, hamburgers with grilled onion and Swiss, and as an alternative to blue cheese dressing on a wedge salad.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org