I’m a bit biased, but the best sandwich shop in New Orleans is Stein’s Market & Deli, a few blocks away from Turkey and the Wolf. (You’ll meet the owner, sandwich king, and my dear friend Dan in hot dog form on page 186.) When we set out to make a sandwich with collards, we had The Sam (Stein’s hot pastrami with Swiss, coleslaw, and Russian dressing on rye) dancing in our heads.
We swapped in stewed collards for pastrami, added a little heat to the dressing, and made it a triple decker—an accidental but vital modification for our version. We intended to use two thick slices of rye, but our bread purveyor sent us regular slices, so we added a third for balance. When one of our regulars tried it, he went on and on about the middle “soaker slice,” which really does kinda slurp up all the dressing and slaw juice to make a mega-tasty safeguard of structural soundness. Now it’s a three-slicer forever.
Note: This recipe calls for braised collard greens. See recipe here.
- To make the slaw: Combine the cole slaw ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix really well with your hands, massaging the cabbage so it wilts to about 3 cups of coles law. I like it cold, so consider chilling it in the fridge, where it keeps for up to 3 days. Before you use it, taste and add more vinegar and salt, if you want.
- To assemble the sandwiches: Move an oven rack so it’s 4 to 6 inches from your broiler and preheat the broiler. Heat up the collards, along with a splash of pot likker or water to keep things juicy, in a small pot
- Get a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or griddle good and hot over medium heat. Swipe the butter on each side of the bread and toast in batches in the skillet until both sides are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Once they’re all toasted, move twelve of the slices of rye to a baking sheet or two in a single layer, top each with a slice of cheese, and melt the cheese under the broiler, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Put a handful of the coleslaw on six of the cheesy slices of rye, top with the other cheesy slices (cheese-side up), then spoon on the collard greens (about ¼ cup per sandwich, or more if you like). Slather the remaining slices of rye with the Russian dressing and complete the sandwiches. By now, they’ll be room temp, which is how the Turkey and the Wolf crew likes them. Halve them and eat them.