My father was an inspired and talented maker of sandwiches. Dad would never think of doing a “Dagwood”, piling anything and everything sky-high onto the bread. His creations were sophisticated and subtle, with each ingredient complementing the others. He made flavored mayonnaise years before such sauces became popular and was even known to sun-dry tomatoes from his garden. The bread was country-style, with a coarse texture and crisp crust.
To share one of Dad’s sandwiches with him was always delicious and fun and is one of the many warm memories I have of having been his daughter.
BEEF TENDERLOIN SANDWICH WITH BLUE CHEESE MAYO
This sandwich is pricey but worth it. No accompaniment is necessary, except a cold drink and some fresh fruit for dessert.
2/3 cup good quality mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 (16-inch) loaf of French bread
1/2 cup olive oil
1 (2-pound) beef tenderloin
2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
1 cup fresh arugula or torn leaf lettuce
1 small red onion, sliced into rings
1 ripe large tomato, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Place mayonnaise, zest, cayenne and blue cheese in a blender or processor and whirl until smooth. Chill, covered, until needed.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Pat surface of tenderloin with cracked black peppercorns and some coarse salt. Place on a rack in a roasting pan.
Roast 20-25 minutes for medium-rare (125 degrees internal temperature on a meat thermometer.) Beef should rest at least 15 minutes before being sliced very thin. (You will have extra tenderloin for steak salad, lucky you.)
Cut French bread into two 8-inch lengths and then slice each length horizontally until you have a top and bottom. Lightly brush the bread with olive oil and grill until toasted.
Begin building the sandwich by layering arugula, red onion and tomato on the 2 bottom slices of the bread. Curl each slice of beef and place over the tomatoes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Top the sandwiches with plenty of blue cheese mayonnaise, put on the lids and serve immediately.
TURKEY-WATERCRESS CLUB SANDWICHES (2 servings)
2/3 cup watercress leaves plus 1/2 cup tender sprigs (divided)
1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
6 slices firm white bread, toasted
1/2 pound roasted white turkey breast, cut into 1/3-inch slices
6 bacon slices, cooked until crisp, drained
2 small ripe tomatoes, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Purée watercress leaves and mayonnaise in a food processor or blender until smooth and blend in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Spread watercress mayonnaise on 6 pieces of toast and top 2 of the pieces with the turkey slices. Top turkey with 2 remaining mayonnaise-spread toasts, mayonnaise sides up; then top with bacon, tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and watercress springs. Cover with the last mayonnaise-spread toasts, mayo side down. Cut sandwiches on the diagonal and secure with toothpicks.