Food & Drinks

5 Gourmet Sarmies That Will Just About Change Your Life

There's no such thing as boring here.

Toby Murphy

From spicy Vietnamese buns to flavourful Danish smørrebrød, these inventive gourmet sandwiches go way beyond the basic BLT. 

1. The Reuben 

For the Bourbon pickles

1 cup white wine vinegar
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup Bourbon whiskey
1t freshly ground salt
1 cup water
350g mini cucumbers
1T fresh dill
1t fennel seeds

For the Reuben

Mayonnaise, to taste
Mustard, to taste
2 slices sourdough or rye bread, buttered
Sliced pastrami, to taste
Sauerkraut, to taste
Sliced Emmental cheese, to taste

Heat the white wine vinegar, caster sugar, Bourbon, salt and water in a pot and stir until the sugar dissolves. Place the cucumbers, dill and fennel seeds into a clean, hot jar. Top with the warm pickling liquid, making sure all of the cucumbers are covered, seal and refrigerate for a minimum of three days.

To make the Reuben, mix a little mayonnaise with mustard, and spread onto a slice of buttered bread. Layer with as much pastrami, sliced Bourbon pickles, sauerkraut and cheese as you want, and sandwich together with the remaining slice of bread. Cut in half and serve.

Leftover Bourbon pickles can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.


2. Pork banh mi

For the pork 

1 cup good-quality chicken stock
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
1T fresh ginger, grated
½ cup orange juice
1kg boneless pork belly
4 to 6 soft mini French baguettes, buttered

For the pickle

¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar
½ cup boiling water
2 carrots, julienned
6 radishes, julienned

Place all of the pork belly ingredients except the pork and baguettes into a heavy based pot and bring to the boil. Add the pork, cover tightly with foil and a lid, and reduce the heat to low. Cook in an oven at 150ºC or on a stove top for 2 to 3 hours or until soft. Remove the pork, thinly slice and set aside.

Bring 2 cups of the pork cooking liquid to the boil and reduce until it reaches a syrupy consistency, discarding the rest. Add the pork slices and set aside. 

To make the pickle, mix the caster sugar, rice vinegar and boiling water together, then add the carrots and radishes. Leave to pickle for 20 minutes.

Stuff the baguettes with the pickle and slices of pork, and serve immediately.


3. Salty lime prawn rolls

1 lime 
2T Maldon salt
1t your favourite hot sauce, or to taste
½ cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
4 soft floured bread rolls, buttered
16 large, firmly cooked prawn tails, peeled and deveined
Watercress and shredded lettuce

Zest the lime and mix it into the salt, keeping the lime for its juice.

Stir the hot sauce into the mayonnaise and squeeze some lime juice in to taste.Spoon onto rolls and pile on the prawns. Season with a pinch of the lime salt and top with the watercress and lettuce.


4. Greek lamb and chickpea pitas with labneh

For the labneh

1 cup thick Greek yoghurt
100g feta cheese
Honey, optional

3T olive oil
2 lamb shanks, seasoned well
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
A few sprigs of thyme and rosemary
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup water
1 can chickpeas, drained
1T harissa
A pinch of Maldon salt
2–4 pita breads, toasted
Shredded lettuce
Zest of 1 orange

Mix the Greek yoghurt and feta cheese together until well combined. Drain in a muslin-lined strainer or a colander suspended over a bowl, and leave in the fridge overnight or until the liquid has drained off and the remaining yoghurt mixture is thick and creamy.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-based pot and sear the lamb shanks all over. Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, orange juice and water, cover with a lid or foil, and roast at 150ºC for 1½ to 2 hours or until the lamb is soft and falling off the bone. Set aside.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add the chickpeas, harissa and salt, and gently sauté for 5 minutes over a low heat.

Shred the lamb in the cooking juices, season again and stuff into the pita breads with the lettuce, chickpeas, labneh and orange zest. For added sweetness, drizzle honey over the labneh. Serve immediately.


5. Smørrebrød 

500g salmon or trout
1T fennel seeds
½t black peppercorns
3T coarsely ground sea salt
1T sugar
2T vodka or citrusy gin
4 medium peeled beetroots, grated
Zest of 1 orange
1T chopped dill
4 slices rye bread
Cream cheese, to taste
Apple, shaved, to taste
Fennel, shaved, to taste
Fresh dill, to taste

Wrap a small baking tray in clingfilm and place the fish in the middle, skin side down. Lightly bash the fennel seeds and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and mix with the salt, sugar, vodka or gin, beetroots, orange zest and dill.

Pack the mixture firmly all over the fish, pressing down and making sure that the fish is completely covered. 

Cover the whole tray with clingfilm and place a flat board or another tray on top. Weigh down with tins and leave in the fridge for 24 hours to cure.

Remove the beetroot mix and lightly rinse the fish. Slice thinly and serve on rye with cream cheese, apple, fennel and dill.