Sandwich Sunday: The Hessian’s Revenge

Last week, Ryan posed the question of… what  do you do when you want to make a sandwich but you’re out of bread? Well, being my usually ravenous and non-forward thinking self, I found myself in this predicament early last week. Not only was I out of traditional bread, but the extent of flour-risen products in my home was in a sorry state. To make a long story short, the only vesicle of breadage at hand was half of an Einstein Brothers Pumpernickel bagel. Fine sandwich making material, no doubt, but dare I go “open-faced” with this application?

I did, and treading through my fridge, I found the perfect combo of leftovers to construct this week’s signature item: The Hessian’s Revenge.

Description: We’ve already established that I like ‘Old World’ flavor profiles. As far as the title goes, I guess this is just another lame attempt to sound sophisticated and put my history degree at work. Anyways, for those of you who slept through American History 101, this should help fill you in. I know, the reference is a stretch, but given the somewhat German-complexion of this open faced burger, I thought the name sounded edgy and cool. So live with it.

As for the toppings, I started off with gently toasting (in a toaster) the underside of an EBB Pumpernickel bagel, and then applying a heavy coat of Dijon mustard and horseradish prepared with beets on top of the mustard. In a separate pan, I briefly sauteed two slices of a Red Delicious apple with some sliced red onion, while also warming up the leftover turkey burger (composed of 93/7 ground meat, panko, various spices, as well as ‘real’ bacon bits from pan-fried center-cut bacon).

After getting some color on the apples and onions, I threw everything together and layered on a slice of Kraft American Cheese to the top of the burger. I tore up the cheese and placed parts of it underneath the onion and apple and other pieces on top. I then steamed the whole shabang on a medium-low temperature in my skillet until the cheese was melted. I sprinkled parsley on the top, mostly because that was all that was in the fridge. The result?

The Verdict: Despite it’s open-faced nature, this was my best creation of the series to date. The sheer presence of so many flavors — many contrasting but also some complimentary of each other — made each bite an adventure. I got the classic salty-sweet combo from the melted cheese on top of the apples and red onions to start, which was followed by some great spice and meat from the turkey burger. The dijon-mustard and horseradish blend added great body and depth of flavor, and accented the subtle sweetness of the old-world bagel base. Texturally, the only thing “off” about this burger was the base. Because of the steaming technique used, the bottom of the bagel ended up being badly burnt, so much so that the final taste left in my mouth was that of burnt caraway seed and rye — an unfortunate ending to an otherwise “almost perfect” open faced sandwich. Despite the flaw, I am still giving this week’s edition very high marks.

GrubGrade: 8.75/10 (Very Good)

Past Sunday Sandwiches: [The Vegginator] [Jason’s Deli Turkey Rueben] [Homemade: The SCLT] [Elements’ Filet Philly Steak Sandwich]

*Your Turn: Do you like the idea of melted cheese and fruit on a sandwich? And can an open-faced sandwich ever be as good as the real deal?

9 comments on “Sandwich Sunday: The Hessian’s Revenge

  1. Ryan says:

    Melted cheese and fruit on a sandwich? I think I could deal, but most likely something other than American.

    And no chance an open-faced sandwich could ever be as good as the real deal. I think the bread is so crucial that it deserves to be present on top and bottom. I understand your predicament of only having a half of a bagel. Tragic.

  2. Adam says:

    Brie works really well with Apple. The Ram’s Head Tavern in Annapolis has a great sandwich called “The Granny” which features melted brie with a grilled apple and chicken breast.

  3. skippymom says:

    This would be so good on two pieces of pumpernickel bread, toasted. YUM.

  4. Peter says:

    I would steam the fillers all together, minus the bagel, and then take a spatula and slide the fillings onto the toasted & prepared bagel instead.

    I would imagine the steaming would ruin any kind of toasting you’d done to the bagel.

  5. ashbrowns says:

    This is an awesome idea, I’m not big on apples, but I really think you could take this and run with it…perhaps with leftover ham,pineapple and cheddar cheese.

  6. Nick says:

    You can’t review your own work Adam–that’s a conflict of interest. Just kidding.

    Open faced only complicates the eating process itself, makes it messier. The taste isn’t really affected in my view. Fruit, on the other hand, oversweetens everything and I try to avoid it. (on my sandwiches at least)

  7. Adam says:

    Nick — you ain’t kidding me. Trying to wield this thing with the melted cheese and grilled apples was like trying to balance a book on my head.

  8. ChrisLad says:

    This was definately one of your most appetizing looking creations. I think openface sandwichs can be good. They need to be served hot though.

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