If there’s one thing to take away from our sandwich-making philosophy, it’s this: Combine something meaty, something spicy, something vinegary, something crunchy, and something fatty in the right proportions, and you’re guaranteed sandwich-making success. It almost doesn’t matter what each of those elements are; a fried piece of fish (meaty, crunchy, fatty) with a scoop of slaw (crunchy, vinegary) and a few habanero pickles (vinegary, spicy) is a classic. But so is “The Roast Emperor,” which uses unexpected ingredients but follows the same basic rules of sandwich superstardom: Rare roast beef (meaty, fatty), pickled mushrooms (vinegary), Chinese hot mustard (vinegary, spicy), and big pieces of Italian parsley (crunchy).
You can make this sandwich with any old off-the-counter roast beef, but we always try to cook our own. It’s about the same cost-per-pound as the slimy, rainbow-flecked deli stuff, but you can cook it to exactly the temperature you’d like and season it just the way you want, with a perfect roast ready-to-slice in about an hour.
The pickled mushrooms are also a cinch, and add a pleasantly briney funkiness to any dish you can imagine. You can use regular old supermarket button mushrooms, but we also added some sliced shiitakes, for an even greater variance in texture. If you want, you can go really buckwild and throw some oyster mushrooms and baby portobellos in there, too. Go ahead. efI’m not going to set arbitrary limits on your freedom. This is America.
A funky, meaty sandwich made with fresh roast beef, pickled mushrooms, Italian parsley, and Chinese hot mustard.
- 8 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
- 5 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 crusty roll, split
- 3/4 lb fresh roast beef (recipe follows)
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
- 1 tsp Chinese hot mustard
In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, rosemary, and thyme. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Add sliced mushrooms to a mixing bowl, then pour boiling liquid over the top. Toss well and keep in refrigerator until ready to use. (Leftovers will keep for a week or more, especially if you stir them occasionally to keep them submerged in liquid.
To assemble the sandwich, spread each cut side of the bread with the Chinese hot mustard. Layer with roast beef, pickled mushrooms, and big sprigs of Italian parsley.
If Chinese hot mustard isn't your jam, substitute any strong-flavored prepared mustard. We also tried this sandwich with a store-brand blue cheese mustard spread, and it was out of this world.
Adapted from a recipe in "A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches," by Tyler Kord.
It's easy to whip up your own roast beef for sandwiches, at about the same cost-per-pound as the store-bought stuff.
- 3 lb Eye of Round Beef Roast, trimmed and tied
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp Kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil until shimmering. Add beef roast and sear on all sides, about ten minutes total.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and rosemary, and stir to combine. Sprinkle seared roast with Kosher salt, then coat with oil mixture. Transfer to oven and cook until internal temperature reads 110, about 30 minutes. Let stand ten minutes before slicing.
To use this roast for sandwiches, chill the finished roast in the refrigerator overnight before slicing.