Sep 3, 2009

Celestial Blessed Pastrami Sandwich


My butcher is my hero. I simply adore the guy. It’s the kind of love you can only have for someone who invents marinaded sausages wrapped in bacon and then shrugs when you point out your ever-growing love handles, casually saying you can stand to eat an extra sausage. Or two. I never stood a chance, but I’m a push-over anyway. Ask my son!

I went to the butcher shop downtown—right next to that cute cheese store I posted photos of—and picked up some meat to stock up my freezer. What was supposed to be an uneventful trip to the Farmer’s market turned into a wasp sting which I will spare you the details of here, and some brand new posting material. The wasp sting was nasty, the posting material wasn’t.

When I asked my butcher for Pastrami, he didn’t just give me freshly sliced pastrami that almost melts on your tongue, he also gave me a recipe that took it to such high levels one could not ever imagine pastrami to reach. I’ll be in his debt forever. And so will you be.



ciabatta (or other crusty white buns)
5 oz pastrami
5 oz ricotta
1/2 an onion
1/3 cucumber
iceberg lettuce
1 big tomato
flat-leaf parsley



* I’ve made 2 sandwiches with these ingredients.

 It’s so 1970 to wrap a package in brown paper. At least here it is, not sure about other European countries or the US. I really like how retro this looks.


Fresh herbs are important for this recipe. I urge you, plead with you, beg you to at least try it with fresh herbs once. It’ll be a life changing experience! Go for a handful of finely minced chives and flat-leaf (or curly) parsley.


Ricotta. For those of you unfamiliar with it; ricotta is a soft, fresh and mildly sweet Italian cheese with a very low fat and salt content. If you can’t get your hands on ricotta, you can also use cream cheese in stead. Ricotta isn’t even really cheese, it’s more a byproduct that sells under that name.


I’ve used about 5 oz ricotta.


Add the minced parsley, the chives and season with a generous amount of pepper and salt.


Mix it all up and taste it to check the seasoning. Always taste what you’re doing or you’ll never develop that spare tire waist! It’s a food bloggers pride.


Thinly slice about 1/2 a small onion. As thin as you possibly can.


Peel and slice the cucumber.


And do the same with the tomato.


I know I’m a bit strange when it comes to vegetables, but  look at it! It’s only iceberg lettuce, I know, but notice how the light falls through it? How wicked green and fresh it looks. Gorgeous. Thinly slice some of it.


Moment of silence for the pastrami, please.

Thank you.


I choose fresh, warm and crispy ciabattas for this, but use whatever bread makes you happy.


Layer the sandwich anyway you like. I started out with a thick layer of ricotta, then added the lettuce, tomato, onion, pastrami and topped it off with a few crunchy cucumber slices.


There are no words left to describe the amazing flavor of this sandwich, so I’m not even going to bother trying.


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    1. 1

      Yes, you’re right… it looks absolutely perfect. I’m jealous that you have a fabulous butcher at hand!

      Lori @ RecipeGirl on Sep 3, 2009 @ 8:50 am Reply
    2. 2

      @Lori @ RecipeGirl:

      I need to take my camera next time I go there. They create the most amazing things. He sells such good quality meat, you can even smell it the moment you set foot in the store.

      Kay on Sep 3, 2009 @ 8:53 am Reply
    3. 3

      I really like how you kept it lowfat and added fresh vegetables. It looks delicious! Photos are gorgeous too.

      Michelle on Sep 3, 2009 @ 10:24 am Reply
    4. 4


      I’m a veg-o-holic! I always cringe when I see people completely ruin a good piece of meat by adding lots of cream or butter, that takes over the flavor and turns something amazing into something really greasy. If you have good quality you don’t need that. The ricotta added just enough creaminess and flavor without adding fat!

      Kay on Sep 3, 2009 @ 10:26 am Reply
    5. 5

      Hola Kay,
      die Pastrami ziet er uit als rosbief? Of ben ik abuis? Beide niet te krijgen hier helaas, maar ik doe mijn best het te benaderen met een mooi stuk Iberico-varken van eigen kweek, roze gebakken en koud met een superscherp mes tot hele fijne plakjes. Zo maak ik ook onze variant van carpacio… yam.

      Richelle on Sep 3, 2009 @ 12:14 pm Reply
    6. 6


      Hoi Richelle!

      Nee, pastrami is heel anders dan rosbief. Volledig andere smaak. Je kunt het hier alleen bij de slager halen, al hebben bij ons sommige AH’s het ook, geloof ik. Het is een specialiteit hier.

      Kay on Sep 3, 2009 @ 12:19 pm Reply
    7. 7

      Kay, this looks fantastic. YUM. I love the fresh ricotta spread on the sandwich. I can almost taste it all. Mmmm. (I have nothing better to say except YUM, obviously ;D)

      LizzieBee on Sep 3, 2009 @ 12:46 pm Reply
    8. 8

      You will not beleive this, I bought pastrami yesterday, I was going ti make a sandwich, grilling swiss cheese bacon and pastrami on rye bread……..this looks better!

      sue on Sep 3, 2009 @ 1:58 pm Reply
    9. 9

      I am jealous of your butcher! I’m not cool enough to have one, I just visit the grocery:) This sounds delish, and is so, so, pretty!

      Liz Brooks on Sep 3, 2009 @ 2:29 pm Reply
    10. 10

      This looks amazing!
      I will have to try this very soon, but sadly not with fresh butcher shop meat. We have some butchers in my town but they are pretty expensive. I wish I had a cheese store here like yours. I would be in heaven!

      Aaron on Sep 3, 2009 @ 2:45 pm Reply
    11. 11

      I thought so at the time but couldn’t find the pictures in your archive until you linked to them today — I stopped by that cheese shop when I was in Holland this past June and picked up the cheese grater and the same manufacturer’s regular kaas schaaf. We were staying with my family in Den Haag and took the train out to Gouda one day with my son. Die kaas schaaf is echt heel mooi — ik vroeg me af of het echt 10 euro (of wat dan ook) waard was vergeleken met een van 2 euro bij de Hema — maar inderdaad, heel mooi kwaliteit!

      Mika on Sep 3, 2009 @ 2:55 pm Reply
    12. 12

      I love pastrami, but always forget that I do when I’m buying meat for sandwiches. This looks delicious and gorgeous photos too!

      Katie @ goodLife {eats} on Sep 3, 2009 @ 2:57 pm Reply
    13. 13


      Had je wel de juiste winkel dan? De kaasschaaf die ik had was geen 10 euro maar iets van 7 euro! Ik heb er inmiddels al 3 van de hema versleten, maar deze is nog steeds perfect!

      Kay on Sep 3, 2009 @ 2:57 pm Reply
    14. 14


      We’re so lucky here. We still have specialty stores when it comes to meat, vegetables and cheese. You can really taste the difference.

      Kay on Sep 3, 2009 @ 2:59 pm Reply
    15. 15

      Easy and mouth watering sandwich!

      Parita on Sep 3, 2009 @ 2:59 pm Reply
    16. 16

      @Kay: Balen dat pastrami zo slecht verkrijgbaar is. Ik heb alleen calvinistische, gereformeerde slagertjes in mijn dorp, en die zijn niet zo van de exotische uitwassen. Gelukkig is mijn kaasboer een stuk avontuurlijker, maar daarmee heb ik nog geen pastrami. Maar eens in Rotterdam gaan zoeken.

      Ilona on Sep 3, 2009 @ 2:59 pm Reply
    17. 17


      Check voor de gein je AH eens. Die verkopen het ook wel eens!

      Kay on Sep 3, 2009 @ 3:02 pm Reply
    18. 18

      @Kay: Ga ik vanmiddag meteen doen.
      Overigens, ik zag laatst bij de V&D maar liefst twee soorten van de geniale kaasschaaf-maar-dan-als-rasp. De ene die jij eens weggaf én een net zo robuust uitziend exemplaar voor maar drie euro!

      Ilona on Sep 3, 2009 @ 3:06 pm Reply
    19. 19

      Now that’s food photography as it was meant to be.

      Rick on Sep 3, 2009 @ 4:05 pm Reply
    20. 20

      @Laura K:

      They sell ricotta at the AH, Laura.

      Kay on Sep 3, 2009 @ 4:06 pm Reply
    21. 21

      I love your blog, I always take a look on your daily updates and I have to admit, I wish I could cook more often the recipes you publish here, I’m sure this sandwich is just like that.
      Big hug from Brazil.


      Carol Dallape on Sep 3, 2009 @ 5:28 pm Reply
    22. 22

      Your butcher is MY hero too, now! That is some fine looking pastrami!

      Chris on Sep 4, 2009 @ 2:21 am Reply
    23. 23

      Ja dat kan wel dat het 7 euro was (maar dan ongeveer 10 dollar, zo denk ik er natuurlijk overnaa). Ik herinner alleen dat het een groot verschil in prijs was maar dus uiteindelijk echt wel waard!

      Mika on Sep 5, 2009 @ 2:38 am Reply
    24. 24

      @Kay: Hola Kay, ja, ik weet wat pastrami en wat rosbief is, ik vond alleen op jouw foto de pastrami er meer uitzien als rosbief (donkerder rand dan roze binnenkant, alsof gebraden ipv ‘cured’), daarom mijn opmerking.
      Hier helaas beiden niet te krijgen. Misschien moet ik mijn home-curing activiteiten eens uitbreiden naar rundvlees als ik een mooi stuk tegenkom (ik wil ook zo’n slager als jij!):-)

      Richelle on Sep 5, 2009 @ 5:37 pm Reply
    25. 25


      Komt waarschijnlijk omdat dit het laatste stukje vlees was wat hij gesneden heeft en het stuk vlees spits toeliep. Plakjes waren dus kleiner en hadden een iets donkerdere rand dan bij het middenstuk.

      Kay on Sep 5, 2009 @ 5:41 pm Reply

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