Brilliance on bread
March 13, 2017
I astound myself sometimes at how freakin’ brilliant I can be in the kitchen.
As oppose, y’understand, to how clueless I can be in the kitchen. To my everlasting credit, I have not been shy about sharing my spectacular failures. But this is one of my spectacular successes.
Regular readers may recall my affinity for a meat loaf sandwich. Properly prepared, with lots of Hellman’s mayo, a layer of melty cheese (American slices will suffice, but Brie is much better), and perfectly thin slices of meat loaf, toasted to a turn, there ain’t much that can beat it.
I’ve beaten it.
And how it was, was, like this.
I was contemplating Sunday dinner for Children A and C. They’re kinda white-bread kids, so I tend to keep Sunday dinners relatively traditional. And I was in the notion for meat loaf, or more particularly, meat loaf sandwiches, which necessitates, well, meat loaf.
So I cooked Sunday dinner. Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, steamed-from-frozen peas and carrots. The latter drained, buttered, and sprinkled with fines herbes, because I couldn’t find my tarragon, and fines herbes has tarragon in it. It was good. Unremarkable, but good.
But for this small matter. I had a pound of ground beef. (It would be a small meat loaf, which was all I wanted.) I mixed it up with its attendant ingredients, i.e., a panade of white bread and milk, an egg, some spices, some ketchup. And I thought I’d use my new pan I’d bought for my CSO.
And I thought to myself, “Damn, self. That’s gonna be a real flat meat loaf by the time I spread it out in that pan.”
And self replied, “Look here, sis. How thin to you slice that meat loaf when you want to put it in a sandwich, anyway? And how often do you curse because pieces of it fall out?”
Self is pretty damn smart sometimes.
So I patted that pound-of-beef meat loaf mix out into that 11.5 x 11.5 pan, where it came to somewhere between a half and a quarter-inch thick. I did not measure. Sue me. But y’know, egg notwithstanding, it’s meat. It ain’t gonna rise.
I topped it with a thin glaze of ketchup, and stuck it in the CSO for 20 minutes at 325, steam bake. (Have I told you in this post I love my CSO? I love my CSO.) Then I pulled it out, drained off the grease and liquid, and stuck it back in at 450 for another 10 to crisp up the edges.
The meat loaf, itself, was good. My meatloaf, though basic, always is. But the sandwich tonight? That sandwich, folks, was stellar.
I had carved the leftovers up into two sandwich-sized slabs and one half-sandwich-sized slab. I took a full sandwich slab tonight, along with a couple of slices of bread from the freezer (these two potato-flaxseed loaves were good, but I’m about to be tired of them). Spread the bread liberally with Hellman’s. Put some slices of Brie on one piece, meat loaf on the other, and popped them into the CSO to toast. Assembled by stacking Part A atop Part B, and adding a liberal serving of sweet gherkins to the plate.
Pretty damn close to perfect, and assuredly in Sweet Baby Jesus territory. Marvelous ratio of crispy to creamy, and the additional portion of ketchup from a full surface area of top crust was just about perfect in and of itself. Supermarket Brie, at something less than $3 an 8-ounce wheel, melted enough to ooze down in to the cracks and crevices of the meat.
I left no scraps. Lucy was perturbed. She did get a crust or two.
I highly recommend you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em try this with your next meat loaf. Once you get past the point it just looks funny, you will assuredly appreciate the convenience and texture it lends to your next meat loaf sandwich, which, after all, is the major reason for making meat loaf in the first place.