Excerpt and recipe from Mason Hereford's new cookbook Flavor Trippin' in New Orleans:
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. 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.
To order Flavor Trippin' in New Orleans, click here:
6 cups packed thinly sliced green cabbage
Heaping ½ cup mayo (Duke’s or bust)
¼ cup thinly sliced white onion
1½ tablespoons distilled white vinegar, or more if you like
1teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal or about half as much Morton), or more if you like
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups Scotty’s Good-with-Everything Collard Greens (page 178),or more if you like
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room-temp so it’s mayo-soft
18 slices seeded soft rye bread
12 thick-cut (⅛ inch) slices Swiss cheese
Spicy Russian Dressing (page 225) for slathering
4 bunches collard greens (about 10 ounces each)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 to 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 tablespoons white sugar
1⁄3 cup red wine vinegar, or more if you like
1⁄3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1⁄3 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce
1 tablespoon plus
2 teaspoons Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning, or more if you like
1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chile flakes) or other red chile flakes
2 teaspoons granulated chicken bouillon (preferably Totole brand, see page 110; optional butoptimal)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal or about half as much Morton),or more if you lik
Scotty’s Good-With-Everything Collard Greens
To make the slaw:
Combine the coleslaw ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix really well with your hands, massaging the cabbage so it wilts to about 3 cups of coleslaw. 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 make the Collards
Tear the leaves from the stems of the collards, discarding the stems, and chop into 1-to 2-inchpieces. You’ll have about 10 cups, packed. Set them aside for a sec.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the sugar, red wine and rice vinegars, hot sauce, Creole seasoning, chile flakes, chicken bouillon, and salt along with 8 cups water. Turn the heat to high to bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for a minute or two, so the flavors meld and develop.
In a few batches, add the collard greens, stirring and letting them wilt a bit before adding the next batch. When you’ve added all the collards, crank up the heat to bring it all to a simmer, then adjust the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook until they’re nice and soft (you might even say a bit mushy) and, just as important, the liquid has reduced to a rich, heavenly broth (this is pot likker, if you didn’t already know) that’s an inch or so deep, about 21⁄2 hours. Season with more salt, Creole seasoning, and red wine vinegar until you’re happy, then simmer for another couple of minutes.
To assemble the sandwiches:
Serve hot or let the collards cool in the pot likker, transfer to an airtight container, and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
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’llbe room temp, which is how theTurkey and the Wolf crew likes them. Halve them and eat them.