pastrami on rye + club sandwich skewers.

My contribution to the Skewer-verse. It’s fitting, right? Superbowl coming up, parties all over the place, people gearing up for loads of finger food, the whole bit. Everyone’s been asking what I’ll be making for that Blessed Last Sunday of American Football, and I’m sad to say, not a whole lot this year. If you saw my party spread any other year, it would be a sight to behold. You would think I was having fifty people over, when in actuality it would be more like ten. But I use it as an excuse to make every cute appetizer I found in magazines/books/Pinterest throughout the year. Like it’s the last ever day to legally make adorable, tiny food. 

Not this year, however. No one is coming over; it will be a quiet house, mostly. But it doesn’t mean we’ll go hungry, so among a few other bites, I’ll be making these mini-sandwiches on a stick. Truth? I’ve been thinking about skewering something for a while now. You see them everywhere. By now, the caprese salad skewer has taken on a life of its own with its tomato/mozzarella ball/basil-ness, and it paved the way for this year’s hit skewer, the antipasti skewer (which, I admit, is magnificent and I would eat ten of them if they were placed in front of me.) So I wanted to do something that was practical, as those are, and would be easy, as is the entire point.

So here they are, tried and tested just today for you, after much thought. I love them. They work brilliantly and passed the most important test for potential party food; what I like to call “the three-to-four-hour test.” What’s that? Well, the three-to-four-hour-test examines a particular recipe’s ability to still be tasty 3-4 hours after you make it. Face it: you’re having people over. You don’t have the luxury of a lot of last-minute preparation. You need things you can assemble in the morning so the things you MUST make right ahead of time can be made without a fuss. I made these this morning and then ate them for lunch, and, covered loosely with plastic wrap in the refrigerator, did amazingly well.

Keys to success here: order of assembly and degree of bread toasting. You want a bread that’s toasted nicely but not so toasty it breaks when you try to skewer it. This involves frequent checking for doneness. My toasts took 7 minutes with one flip about halfway through. As for the order, I made sure to skewer things side by side that would hold up well as food neighbors and not make anything soggy or dry. Because I know it’s no fun peering at a photo to figure out the order of things, I made you a drawing:

 

You should be able to match up your ingredients pretty well to the diagram. And you can order them any way you want; this particular way worked very well in terms of keeping bites together and un-soggy.

Treat these as you would any sort of small little slider-sized party sandwich, because even though they look fancy, they’re no more finicky than a normal sandwich would be. If you make them ahead, bear in mind I only tested them for a few hours, not the entire day. You can obviously prep everything ahead of time separately and then assemble before your guests arrive. I’ll note also that I’ve made these using actual deli cold-cuts, not the pre-packaged stuff, which I don’t know…I don’t buy it. I would strongly suggest getting it from you favorite deli so you can control how thick they cut it. You don’t want wafer-thin slices here; you want a thicker slice that will hold its little roll shape.

So there you have it. Skewer away and have a great weekend. Each of these skewers have a little side dip/condiment to go with them in lieu of putting it on the sandwiches. I’ve included the recipe for those also.

Adapted from thoughts rolling around in my head. And I’m more or less going to give you a grocery list on these, because you could be throwing a party for 10 or a party for 60. You know better than I will, so I’ll give you the tools and you tailor it to your party size.

Club Sandwich Skewer + Avocado Dip

for the sandwich:

  • Thin-sliced white bread (I love Pepperidge Farm Very Thin White; it works perfectly), cut into 4 triangles per slice. You will need 3 of these triangles per skewer)
  • Melted butter (enough to brush your bread slices with; a little goes a long way)
  • Deli-sliced turkey (1 slice per skewer)
  • Deli-sliced ham (1 slice per skewer)
  • Romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed, roughly torn into pieces
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes (2 per skewer)
  • Thick-sliced bacon, cut into thirds (2 per skewer)
  • Tiny, tiny pickles for garnish

for the avocado dip:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Using a pastry brush, brush the butter on both sides of your bread slices (don’t soak them) and place them on your prepared sheet pan. Place on middle rack of oven and toast for 5-7 minutes, flipping them maybe 3 minutes in. You really want to watch to ensure these are lightly toasted but NOT crouton-toasted. If they are too dry, you will have serious trouble poking them onto your skewers. Err on the side of caution here unless you want to remake a bunch of tiny triangle toasts. Remove and cool, which only takes a few minutes.

Cut your bacon in thirds (if you haven’t already done so), heat a pan to medium, and cook your bacon until it is just crisp. Not too crispy; remember what I said about toasts? It also applies to bacon. Remove bacon and place onto a plate covered with paper towels to de-grease and cool.

Meanwhile, take your turkey and ham and roll each piece up, lengthwise, from top to bottom. Cut in half so you have two rolls from each slice of meat. Prep lettuce, if you haven’t already.
Assemble using my diagram above. Top with a couple of tiny pickles. Store in the fridge covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container ample enough not to squish anything and preferably in one layer.

To make the avocado dip:

couldn’t be easier. Remove avocado goodness from skin, reserving one of the pits. Smash avocado with a fork and mix in the sour cream, stirring until relatively smooth (it doesn’t have to be perfect). Add salt and pepper to taste. Drop the avocado pit back in to the dip, cover tightly, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove pit, obviously, before serving.

and if you don’t know why I just told you to put an avocado pit in your dip? Here’s why. It does something magical and prevents the avocados from going brown. So unless you want to scrape the brownish part of the dip off before serving, you’ll heed my advice. Trust me, it works.

Pastrami on Rye Skewers + Mustard Dip

for the sandwich:

  • Thin-sliced rye bread (I love Pepperidge Farm Party Jewish Rye; it’s that tiny rye bread you see at your favorite grocery store) sliced in triangular halves
  • melted butter (enough to brush your bread slices with; a little goes a long way)
  • Deli-sliced beef (or turkey) pastrami (2 slices per skewer)
  • Pepper Jack or Swiss cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (2 cubes per skewer)
  • Tiny sweet pickles (2 per skewer)

for the mustard dip:

Preheat your oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Using a pastry brush, brush the butter on both sides of your bread slices (don’t soak them) and place them on your prepared sheet pan. Place on middle rack of oven and toast for 5-7 minutes, flipping them maybe 3 minutes in. You really want to watch to ensure these are lightly toasted but NOT crouton-toasted. If they are too dry, you will have serious trouble poking them onto your skewers. Err on the side of caution here unless you want to remake a bunch of tiny triangle toasts. Remove and cool, which only takes a few minutes.

Take your pastrami and roll each piece up, lengthwise, from top to bottom. Cut in half so you have two rolls from each slice of meat. Cube your cheese into 1/2 inch cubes, if you haven’t already.
Assemble using my diagram above. Store in the fridge covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container ample enough not to squish anything and preferably in one layer.

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2 Comments on "pastrami on rye + club sandwich skewers."

  1. jayden says:

    Hi Shannon,

    Love this concept skewer, definitely giving these a shot at my next social gathering at home.

    I have tried other simple skewer ideas with cold cuts, fruit and other off the shelf basics like cottage cheese. Pretty good response with those who are fans of these light snacks.

    I was wondering if you had more recipes for skewers involving actual skewing; meats, seafood or even vegetarian ideas welcome :)

    Thanks again ! :)

    • shannon says:

      Hi Jayden, i’m sorry: for some reason this comment is just now showing up. i must have missed it somehow, and i’m normally very good at getting right back to you. I hope if you tried them in the meantime, you liked them! we all loved them here.

      You know, skewers are fun because the world is yours in terms of ingredients, as long as those ingredients can be held together on a stick. :) I always try to think of salads or sandwiches i’ve seen and then think of how that would translate into a skewer format. For example, a caprese salad is easily done by skewering together tomatoes and mozzarella and basil leaves, then drizzling the whole thing with balsamic. club sandwich, same: avocados (if you like that on a club sandwich) are the only difficult thing, so i’d take that and maybe do an avocado dip for the skewer.

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