RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Glorious Meat-Free Sandwiches

I love a good tomato sandwich.
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Claire Lower
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I love a good tomato sandwich.

Recipe of the Week is here once more, which means it's time to pour yourself an adult beverage, have a seat in your favorite comfy chair, and talk about your favorite recipes as they relate to whatever theme I happen to choose. 

Last week found me pumped up about my new gas stove, and thus I was all about charring things over an open flame. According to the most up-voted comment, I was perhaps a little too enthusiastic.

This is a fair reaction.

This is a fair reaction.

Here you can see this excellent gif in all of its glory:

homer gif.gif

Excellent gif-age deserves a trophy as much as any excellent recipe, and your trophy, Pitbully, is "Hungry Eyes" by Eric Carmen because it really captures my feelings about flame-roasted food.

You all had some really excellent ideas for what I should throw into the flames, but this week's winner garnered the most up-votes by keeping it simple (and delicious).

rotw.PNG

Here's Handsome MRA's full comment for those of you reading on your phone:

Tacos are extra dank when you have a gas range because you can use it to get a really nice char on the tortillas! My Mexican mom made tacos (corn tortillas) or fajitas (flour tortillas) at least once a week when I was growing up. To char the tortillas (which she bought precooked and packaged), she would just turn the flame down low and lightly drag the tortilla back and forth (charring each side) until it was hot and lightly spotted. She would put them in a basket wrapped in a dish towel to keep them warm while she charred the rest. 

I do it the same way but I have to use a comal on top of my electric range 'cause I'm a non-gas-range-having saddo. 

My favorite taco fillings are fish, cochinita pibil, and chicken Crock Potted with pureed tomatillos and chiles per Cooks Illustrated. I make my own refried beans now but I have a huge soft spot for the canned Rosaritas too! 

Other than that, I can't picture putting anything besides a pot/pan/skillet/comal on top of the open flame of a gas range - is that actually a thing? 

I settled on fish tacos because they have a fresh and healthy feel to them and as the weather gets warmer I crave things that seem "fresh and healthy." I grilled some rockfish with some lemon and lime while I warmed my tortillas, and threw some whole green onions on the flame for good measure.

See the tiny fire?

See the tiny fire?

One cool thing about moving is that you have to buy staples like salt, pepper, hot sauce, etc., and as a result I was out of salsa. This was sad, but not tragic, as I had pineapple and thus could make my own salsa.

I roasted it first, though. Obviously.

SWEET CARAMELIZED FRUIT

SWEET CARAMELIZED FRUIT

After roasting the fruit, I added in a bit of green tomato and some salt; no need to over-complicate things. (Though in retrospect, some peppers were needed.) HandsomeMRA suggested a simple slaw of cabbage and lime juice, so I whipped that up as well.

Ready for action!

Ready for action!

Once the tortillas were properly toasted and the fish was nice and flakey, I assembled the tacos, topping it all with the slaw, salsa, a bit of sour cream, those beautiful roasted green onions (also at the suggestion of HandsomeMRA), and some hot sauce.

You can't really see the fish but it's there, I swear.

You can't really see the fish but it's there, I swear.

The result was truly delicious, with the fire coaxing out all sorts of roasted and toasted flavors.

Your trophy, HandsomeMRA, is "Heat of the Moment" by Asia because I'm feeling very literal and this is the most literal music video in the entire history of music videos.

NEXT.

I know I'm incredibly late on this, but I just started watching Broad City. I do so exclusively in the bath while drinking, and it's a lovely little bit of "me time." I'm slowly making my way through the series, savoring it, but my favorite episode so far has been The Lockout, particularly everything that goes down in the sandwich shop.

There are some truly great lines, and I found myself nodding along with “They don't even have meat, so I don’t know if I would consider it a sandwich shop,” because that really seemed like my truth.

But then I remembered tomato sandwiches and how deeply I love them. They're so simple. All you need it white bread, mayo, tomatoes, maybe a little salt. You can add some American cheese if you're feeling very fancy, but you don't need it. I like mine with a little garlic salt and mayo on both pieces of bread.

You're my obsession.

You're my obsession.

I mean, I get what Abbi is saying. If you're going to pay someone else to make you a sandwich, you want there to be a wide variety of toppings, including various meats of the cured and uncured variety. But the episode got me thinking: Are there meat-free subs that give a Boar's Head Italian a run for its money? Are there other veggie-based sandwiches besides tomato worth eating for lunch three days in a row? Should an establishment serve meat if it wishes to call it self a "sandwich shop"?

I figured you guys would know.