A few months back, we were listening to KCRW‘s, Good Food, as we’re wont to do when we’re able to make the time on the weekends. If you don’t know the program, it’s a weekly culinary show that covers pretty much anything involving food—restaurant reviews, cookbooks, baking, farmers market finds, larger food trends, fair wages in food services; anything and everything interesting in the food world. It’s usually a pretty great listen; sometimes not the most-vegan-friendly, but, this being southern California, on the other side of the coin, also often super-vegan-friendly and more often than not, very vegetable-centric.
So, anyway, a few months back, we were sipping coffee on the front porch and their sandwich episode dropped. As usual, it covered an array of subjects within the show theme and featured a number of guests—bread-baking 101 with the owner of our favorite local mill; a super-charming British guy talking British sandwiches (spoiler: he adorably calls them ‘sarnies’); LA’s golden boy Jonathan Gold reviewing a great bar up from our studio, Everson Royce—but the segment that caught our ears was one with Tyler Kord, owner of No. 7 Sub, a sub shop in NYC that we’d never heard of before.
The shop, like the show, is not vegan, but has a clean love of vegetables, throwing many of their sandwiches into the vegetarian and/or vegan-ize-able categories. One such sandwich—No. 7 Sub’s Broccoli Classic—left us salivating and champing at the bit to make it ourselves.
I thought I’d just wing it, but, lo and behold, I happened across the recipe on an old WNYC post. Though it’s technically taken from a limited edition, 48-page cookbook Kord published around the time of that original WNYC post, the chef, restauranteur, and author also now has a fabulously named cookbook new cookbook out now—A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches.
The original recipe linked to above is vegetarian already, so it was just a matter of subbing the mayo + feta; after which, we ended up with one of the messiest, most craveable sandwiches we’d ever made (note: we used ciabatta rolls; guessing using actual sub rolls might be a good deal less messy; …additional note: you might be tempted to skip the most intimidating component—the lychee muchin (pictured, right)—but don’t, it’s easier than it sounds and makes the sandwich).
Makes 2 large, messy sandwiches
1 can pitted lychees (available at Asian markets—we got ours in Thai Town), drained and quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
One 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
A few drops of sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 small dried chiles, chopped (from Kord: “I prefer tien tsin chiles, available at Asian markets, or chiles de arbol, available at Mexican markets, but a teaspoon of red chile flakes will work”; we used dried, bright red Korean chili flakes)
1 cup white vinegar
2 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
2 soft Italian sub rolls, split lengthwise or 2 large ciabatta rolls
4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
1 pound broccolini (we used flowering broccoli, which is perfect in southern California right now)
4 ounces vegan ricotta salata (about 1 cup—Kite Hill makes a good store-bought one; you could also make a nut-based one at home)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup fried shallots (the Vietnamese ones found at Asian markets, but any fried onions, store-bought or homemade, will do)
In a mixing bowl, combine the lychees, garlic, ginger, shallot, sesame oil, sugar, chiles, vinegar and scallions. Let sit for at least an hour.
In an oven preheated to 375 degrees, toast the sub rolls and reheat the broccoli if necessary.
Spread 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise on each of the sub rolls, then use tongs to stuff the rolls with broccoli. Top each sandwich with a little bit of the lychee muchin, followed by the ricotta salata, pine nuts, and fried shallots. Serve.