Memorial Day has always been a special time in my family. As a child it meant either camping or a huge BBQ in the back yard or at a park. As an adult I have usually held a largish party with my family’s favorite dishes, lots of friends, beer and wine. Always I remember those men and women who perished to ensure our freedom in this country. My grandfather was in the Navy and served with my Great Uncle (Grandma’s brother) in the South Pacific. Grandpa was a great guy and I like especially to honor his memory on this national holiday.
This year is a little different for me. I’m here in foggy foggy San Francisco and instead of making my usual menu of barbecued ribs, Vidalia onion pie, Memorial Day baked beans, jello salad, little rolls and Miracle Margarita Flan Cake, I am cooking for myself. Naturally as one does when one is left to just please oneself, I turned to my favorite comfort food. One of my most happy childhood memories is when mOm would make us “club sandwiches” for lunch. These club sandwiches are unlike any I have seen anywhere and I have scoured the web looking for someone else who has made these and have come up dry. Perhaps they are a unique family invention? If you have had one (not served by me) please let me know, I would love to hear where you had it. I have served our family club sandwich to many people and everyone, without exception, has fallen in love with our humble luncheon treat. Today I trekked over to the grocery store for my weekly shop and saw a ham steak in the butcher case and thought perhaps I should make my own deviled ham instead of relying on the redoubtable Underwood in the can with its little paper wrapper. Come to think of it, I am not really sure what is in that little can!! A scary thought, no? So when I returned home I began my preparations.
Heather’s Family Club Sandwiches
1 can of Underwood deviled ham, or homemade (see below)
English muffins, halved (usually one whole muffin per person
a ripe tomato, sliced
onion or shallot salt
Homemade Deviled Ham:
half of a ham steak, cut into largish chunks
3 green onions, chopped
6-7 cornichon or equivalent amount of dill pickle
1/4 of a chipotle chile, seeds removed
1 T Creole mustard1/4 c mayonnaise
several dashes of Worchestershire sauce
salt and black pepper to taste
In a food processor add green onions, chipotle chile and cornichons and pulse until well chopped. Add chunks of ham and pulse until ham is finely minced.
Then add seasonings: Creole mustard, Worchestershire sauce, grinds of black pepper and mayonnaise, and puree until smooth. Taste for salt and spice. If you like things pretty zippy you might want to add more chipotle, but to my taste the 1/4 chile was just enough to invoke that wonderful sunshine in the mouth feeling. Remove deviled ham to a bowl and chill for several hours or overnight.
I, however, was impatient and started my club sandwiches right away!
To begin, I toasted the English muffins in the toaster oven on a tray. Note that in the upper left picture that I used a Thomas’ muffin and one from Whole Foods. Which one looks better to you? To me, the muffin in the foreground looked far more superior, and that is the Thomas’.
After the muffins were toasted I spread on the deviled ham and returned the pan to the broiler until the ham was golden brown on top. In my fabulous Delonghi convection toaster oven it took 4 minutes, so you will have to watch your own oven or broiler. It is really important to spread the deviled ham all the way to the very edges of the muffin otherwise the bread will burn. After toasting, I added tomato slices on top of the ham and return to the broiler for 4 minutes or until the tomatoes were heated through and steaming. Then, I topped the tomatoes with a good dollop of sour cream, spread evenly.
It is very crucial at this point to gently sprinkle the sour cream with a little onion or shallot salt. Or garlic salt. I really prefer the shallot salt this week, after I discovered it at Penzey’s I am kind of addicted to it. Return the pan to the broiler until the sour cream is hot and set. Transfer to plates and serve.
It is completely up to you whether you wish to use a knife and fork or pick up the club sandwich with your hands and eat it with sour cream and tomatoes dripping down your wrists into your shirtsleeves. mmmmmm.
I wish you and your family a very wonderful holiday and here’s to our troops far from home, wish I could send you a club sandwich!