Sandwich Enthusiasm


My Corned Beef Sandwich with Baby Arugula, Horseradish, and Spicy Mustard

I discovered my sandwich enthusiasm at Piatto Pronto deli a while back. I used to frequent this deli (on Clark and Olive) a lot when I lived in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The shop made me fall in love with hot sandwiches and paninis. I learned how they got to be so good when made with fresh ingredients and exciting combination.

I remembered walking a few blocks from my apartment to Piatto Pronto’s door to pick up a sandwich one warm spring evening. The owner waved and smiled at my arrival. From behind the counter he asked, “What would you like to have tonight?” I looked at the menu board on the wall and did not see what I came for that night.

I usually get turkey or chicken. But tonight I am craving a corned beef sandwich. Do you make those too?” I asked.

Ha! A corned beef sandwich! Of course. I just didn’t expect to hear such a request from a petite woman. But sure. I can make anything.” He replied. I just smiled.

What else do you want on it?” he asked.

I wanted a big flavor, something that kicked. So I said, “Horseradish. Everything else is up to you.” 

“Horseradish! You surprised me again!” He laughed and then proceeded like an artist creating a masterpiece. I’ve always loved this respect toward food preparation. It felt like an art—that food could be more than just something to wolf and make our stomachs full. That goodness, joy, and excitement exist in food preparation and enjoyment. A few minutes later he handed me the sandwich. The result? A superb meaty and hot sandwich made of fresh ingredients with a punch for less than $7.

(Note about Piatto Pronto: Expect a line during lunch or after-work hours. Perfect for take out. Small outdoor seating area available in warmer months.)

The deli inspired a couple of sandwich creations. One day I happened to be in the mood for sandwiches. So I gathered the following from the market:

  • A large Ciabatta bread
  • ½ pound of sliced corned beef
  • ½ pound of sliced honey roasted turkey breast
  • Baby arugula 
  • Baby swiss cheese
  • (I had horseradish and spicy brown mustard in the fridge)

The steps I did:

  • Cut the Ciabatta bread in half, sliced one in half horizontally (keep the other half for the turkey sandwich), and separated the top from the bottom. 
  • Then using a bread knife I spread a dollop of horseradish and spicy mustard on both top and bottom bread. 
  • Layered the bottom bread with baby arugula, slices of corned beef, cheese, and more baby arugula. 
  • Placed the top of the bread on the stack and cut the whole thing into three smaller sandwiches. 
  • Heated a non-stick pan (panini press works too) over medium heat, placed the sandwiches on it, and pressed gently with a lid for a minute or two. (Did the same combination for the turkey sandwich.)

I have done the same combo using Asiago bread too, which worked quite well.

Jeff and I loved the combo. The tangy and spicy horseradish and mustard along with the peppery baby arugula added extra kicks to our corned beef and turkey sandwiches. I think we’ve found our favorites!

3 thoughts on “Sandwich Enthusiasm

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