The legendary Reuben of yore was built on corned beef. I swapped that out in favor of smoked salmon in this slimmed-down update. And while I hold fast to the classic’s melted cheese, I lose the untoasted rye bread in favor of a grilled panini.
The idea, of course, was to lighten up the Reuben, a sandwich that explodes with flavor as you eat it, but then sits in your gut like a rock.
Smoked salmon has nowhere near the fat content of corned beef, but it’s rich enough to cry out for some kind of acid for balance, just like corned beef. Happily, sauerkraut does the trick.
As for the Reuben’s standard Thousand Island dressing, I slimmed it down and spiced it up by using low-fat mayo and chili sauce (instead of the more traditional ketchup), then combined it all with chopped dill pickle and a squeeze of lemon.
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I don’t own a panini machine, so I just put my layered sandwich in a skillet, topped with a plate and added a heavyweight can of tomatoes.
This is not grandpa’s Reuben, but I don’t think you’ll mind. And I know you won’t need to take a nap after eating it.
Sara Moulton hosts public television’s Sara’s Weeknight Meals and is the author of Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.