Jake’s Perfect Sandwich

Makes 1 sandwich, large enough to serve 4

Jake the Dog channels the realm of creation above him to build the sandwich of his dreams, a towering mishmash of meat and condiments that would make Rodney Dangerfield proud. This sandwich had been hotly requested by commenters for some time, and with a large new audience, that voice was being heard louder than ever. But how to tackle such cartoonish concepts as “lobster soul” and “bird from the window”? Lobster soul felt, to me, like an “essence” of the pricey crustacean, so I opted for an aioli imbued with lobster flavor. Bird from the window was just that: a songbird snatched from its perch, transformed instantaneously into an amorphous blob of meat. The closest equivalent I could conjure up was a whole boneless Cornish game hen, a mild enough piece of poultry that I could at least mimic in form. The rest was pretty well spelled out for me—leave it to Adventure Time to incorporate sous vide into a gag.

Verdict: The so-called “perfect sandwich” is pretty far from that—for starters, unless you’re a shape-shifting cartoon dog, it’s not physically possible to take a bite of. The flavors are a bit confused, but not offensive. Lose the “bird” and the cucumbers, slice up the steak into manageable/chewable pieces, and you might have yourself a pretty perfect sandwich.

  • 1 boneless rib eye steak, roughly the size of your bread (about 1½ pounds)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lobster tail
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 Cornish game hen, deboned, or 2 boneless chicken thighs
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and fat reserved
  • 1 large, long sourdough loaf, halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill leaves
  • 1 dill pickle, thinly sliced
  • 1 hard-boiled large egg, sliced
  • 10 thin slices cucumber
  • 1 Vidalia onion, 3 thin rounds sliced off and the rest reserved for inducing tears
  • 8 thin slices plum tomato
  • 2 teaspoons human tears

In a sous vide bag, combine the rib eye, thyme, rosemary, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Vacuum seal and submerge in a sous vide bath set at 135°F for 2 hours. Remove from the bath and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large pot fitted with a steamer insert, bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Place the lobster tail in the steamer. Cover, reduce the heat, and steam for about 8 minutes, or until completely cooked. Remove from the heat. When the lobster is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the tail and reserve for another use (or add it to this sandwich, if desired). Break the shell into pieces and transfer to a high-powered blender. Add the vegetable oil and blend until the shell is finely ground, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour the lobster oil into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the oil is reddish and fragrant, about 15 minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve; discard the solids. Set the lobster oil aside to cool completely.

In the cup of an immersion blender (or in a food processor or standing blender), combine the lemon juice and egg yolks. Blend briefly to combine. With the blender running, slowly pour the lobster oil down the side of the cup and blend until the mixture is thick and emulsified. Refrigerate the lobster aioli until ready to use.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brush the Cornish game hen with some reserved bacon fat, season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and place skin-side down in the skillet. Cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Flip, then transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the internal temperature registers 165°F, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.

To assemble the sandwich, torch the cut sides of the bread with a culinary torch (only for accuracy—I recommend toasting the bread in the oven or under the broiler instead). Spread the cream cheese on both cut sides of the bread. Sprinkle the dill on the top half of the bread, then slather with some of the lobster aioli. On the bottom half, shingle the slices of pickle and egg. Top with the Cornish game hen, cucumber, onion, tomato, and steak. Use the remaining onion to make yourself cry, then drizzle the tears over the steak. Top with the bacon.

Close the sandwich, cut in half, and serve.

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