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What’s Good Today? The Pastrami Sandwich at Depanneur

By Peter Hobbs - Oct 01, 2011

 

Today we stop by Williamsburg’s sandwich and provisions shop Depanneur, in search of something good to eat. Managing partner Nichelina Mavros, whose innocent obsession with cheese led to a career in food, suggests a sandwich. A pastrami sandwich, to be exact, made with honey-brined, coriander-crusted smoked brisket from Brooklyn Cured, sweet and salty butter from Roberta’s, house-pickled shallots, and the pop-in-your-mouth caviar stylings of whole grain mustard from Tin Mustard…

 

At Depanneur, Nichelina Mavros suggests a sandwich. A pastrami sandwich.

 

OK Nichelina, what do we have today?

 

Well our sandwiches are pretty popular. We have a really nice selection of regional and European cheeses, and meats and breads, and all kinds of local goodies, really, so it seemed to make sense to take some of these great things we carry and use them to make sandwiches. [laughter.] So I think a sandwich would be a good place to start.

 

One of our special sandwiches features pastrami from Brooklyn Cured. We really love this pastrami. Scott Bridi grew up in Brooklyn and started Brooklyn Cured a few years ago after running Gramercy Tavern’s charcuterie program. He was a chef too, so he knows a lot about meat and a lot about flavors. He only works with local, pastured meats, and he makes all kinds of great things.

 

He makes the pastrami with this wonderfully fatty brisket. He brines it for days in honey and spices, then crusts it with coriander, peppercorns and mustard and smokes it. It is delicious. So flavorful, so good.

 

For the sandwich, we slice the brisket nice and thin, and serve it on a Pullman rye from Balthazar with sweet and salty butter from Roberta’s, some Tin Mustard, and pickled shallots. The Pullman rye is really kind of spectacularly soft and delicate. The butter from Roberta’s is amazing, of course – pretty much everything they do is. The Tin Mustard is another Brooklyn-made product. It’s a whole grain mustard – they don’t grind the seeds, so they kind of pop in your mouth like caviar when you eat it. And we pickle the shallots here.

 

The sandwich features honey-brined, coriander-crusted smoked brisket pastrami from Brooklyn Cured, sweet-and-salty butter from Roberta's, and whole grain mustard from Tin Mustard. Nichelina suggests pairing its creamy, smoky, pickly, meaty goodness with Belvoir's herbal, floral, sparkling elderflower soda.

 

So the rye bread and the butter and are both soft and creamy with hints of sweetness. The pastrami is really tender, and has that rich, smoky, meaty flavor combined with the sweetness of the honey brine and the spice of the coriander , mustard and peppercorn crust. The Tin Mustard carries the sweetness note too, along with that sharp tang and spice and that texture that kind of pops, and it works really nicely with the pickled shallot to cut the creamy, melt-in-your mouth fattiness of the butter and pastrami.

 

Some sandwiches are better when you heat them a bit – it can really bring out the flavors. Or if you toast the bread, to add some texture. We don’t heat this one or toast the bread or anything, because all the flavors and textures are so wonderful as they are that they don’t need any help. It’s a really great sandwich.

 

What would you pair it with?

 

Hmmm. You know what would go really beautifully with it? The Belvoir elderflower soda. It’s from England, actually. It’s made with freshly-picked elderflowers, a little lemon juice, and sparkling water from their local spring. That’s it. I love it. Its light, herbal and floral flavors and the bubbles would all counter and complement everything going on in the sandwich quite nicely, I think.

 

 

So Nichelina, how did you end up here?

 

I was born in New York, but I grew up mainly in Texas, where we ended up because of my dad’s work. I’ve been back here in the city for ten or eleven years, and I’ve been working in the food industry for most of that time.

 

It started with cheese. Cheese is kind of my passion. When I was in college, I found myself reading all these books about cheese rather than reading the books I was supposed to be reading. [laughter.] Right after college I worked the counter at Bedford Cheese, and then I was at Murray’s, working in wholesale for a while.

 

I thought I might like to cook, so I interned in the kitchen at Five Leaves in Greenpoint. I learned so much. It was really great. I love them there. But I realized that I really like working directly with customers. I like being in the front of the house.

 

So a few years ago a few friends and I decided to open this place. We opened just over two years ago. I’m the managing partner, so I get to do all the fun stuff, like picking the products and that sort of thing. But it also means I get to do the not fun stuff too, like the books. [laughter.]

FEED, LOCAL

Cauliflower & Red Peppers from Upstate NY

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If you've been sad that summer produce is waning, do not despair. First of all, it's APPLE season, the best season of all, and we're selling some delicious, sweet, and ubercrispy Honeycrisp apples (which recently appeared in a Dep special grilled cheese with havarti and bacon). Second of all, we've just gotten in some beautiful shipments of cauliflower and red peppers from upstate New York! And now that it's fall--and officially safe to turn up the oven without perishing of heat exhaustion--these veggies are perfect for roasting. (...or steaming, or pickling, or sautéeing, etc. etc.)

Here's a quick and easy recipe for Garlic-y Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper. This is a great dish eaten as an accompaniment to roasted meats, or even served cold as a salad. You can double or triple the recipe and mix the leftovers in pasta. We're also not opposed to puréeing all of it with some extra virgin olive oil for a delicious and nutritious dip!

INGREDIENTS:

  • One head of cauliflower
  • One medium red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic (or more, or less)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, black pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Chop the cauliflower head into small, bite-size florets. Chop the red bell pepper into thin slivers. Chop the garlic real fine. Mix all the veggies together with olive oil, until everything is all good and coated. Season liberally with salt and pepper (and any other tasty spices you have lying around). Spread on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cauliflower is slightly golden and crispy on the outside. Take out of the oven and toss the whole shabang with Parmesan cheese. Let everything cool before you start eating so you don't burn your mouth.