Homemade Corned Beef
David, 02 Mar
My desert island food is corned beef. Hot, piled up on a sandwich, between two pieces of rye bread with spicy brown mustard smeared liberally inside, corned beef is the one food that I could find myself being happily enjoying if trapped on a desert island. (With unlimited ice-cold pitchers of tropical cocktails, of course.) I also want cole slaw and half-sour pickles, too. Although if truth be told, I’m okay with just fat slices of corned beef, warmed, served on their own. Or simmering in a pot with potatoes and carrots with a bottle of French wine alongside.
Many French people know pastrami, but don’t know corned beef as most of us know it. (What they get is a canned version, which looks from photographs to be closer to Spam than to actual corned beef.) Romain can’t seem to get enough pastrami and once we went to a not-so-good restaurant in Paris where I’d heard they had it on the menu. When he was served two slices of bread with only two meager, thin slices of pastrami hidden in between, he walked back into the kitchen with his sandwich in hand and told them it needed to be really, really thick. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but he was demonstrating how thick it needed to be with his hands to the astonished cooks.
Growing up in New England, my mother sometimes made a boiled dinner of corned beef with cabbage, potatoes and carrot. I can’t say I was a big fan of the cabbage and it wasn’t until recently that I learned that it’s actually called a New England boiled dinner, but the potatoes and carrots were great along with slices of the moist, pink meat always served with a dollop of spicy brown mustard alongside.
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