Veggie Behemoth: The Lover

>> Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'd like to introduce you to the sandwich that -- at first -- was a mere experiment in gross overindulgence. One that pays tribute to Adam Richman (much like our summertime omelet inside a burrito -- El Chubacabra). And one that has ultimately won our hearts. We've eaten it twice already this week. TWICE. And though it appears rather pernicious at first glance, heaped with mounds of perhaps too-much glorious fare, it's actually not too entirely "bad" for you.

Readers, meet THE LOVER.

So, what's the story? While watching Man versus Food one night, we found ourselves completely mesmerized by beefy sandwiches piled high with chow like chips, French fries, mac and cheese, and other prodigious items. We could do this too, we thought. However, how to make it healthy (and at very least -- vegetarian) was our main concern.

We started with a thick slice of rosemary-salt bread from the bakery section. To achieve the "meatiest" base layer, Stephen modified his famous seitan recipe -- replacing the tomato paste with hubbard squash puree, swapping the ketchup for honey, omitting the garlic and basil in favor of cumin, paprika, and cayenne. The resulting log could feed an army. Or two ravenous (never home)makers. And, yes, Lindsey, I took this photo for you. I feel like now I should be inserting some kind of THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID joke. But I'll just include the photo.

The next layer: two modest squares of Swiss cheese, broiled onto the seitan to brown, bubbly perfection. You could use any kind of cheese, but the mild flavor of Swiss compliments the rest of our spread wonderfully. However surreptitious -- buried in the depths of the gargantuan beast -- it makes its presence know with the very first bite.

Now onto the soft bed of coleslaw. Another Stephen specialty made with 1-1/2 cups shredded red cabbage, 2 medium carrots (also shredded), half a small white onion (you guessed it, shredded), 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons horseradish, salt and pepper to taste. Tossed together and loaded onto the Swiss cheese, creating an oozy, sticky love connection (but this one is only a one-night stand).

I think we all know and appreciate the next layer: sweet potato fries. Crispy, yet pliable -- even soggy in the special sauce -- these babies give the whole a sweet, hearty flavor and texture of fanatical proportions. We bought ours in the organic foods section at Wegmans.

To top it off, an abundant layer of my personal favorite: sliced avocado. The fruit adds a sensuous -- even carnal -- quality to the mix. And to make it even more divine, we topped THAT with an unrelenting deluge of special sauce. (Two tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon horseradish, 1/2 teaspoon mustard -- whisked.)

Add another generous slice of rosemary-salt bread, and you're done. You've created THE LOVER, the sandwich that has ruined you for all other sandwiches. And you'll find yourself going back for more night after night. Just don't be upset when he never calls . . .

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