When it comes to sandwiches, no one knows or respects the intricacies of this timeless favorite quite like Food Network’s own Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro. At Saturday’s Soup’er Sandwich event during the 2013 New York City Wine & Food Festival, Jeff gathered more than two dozen of his fellow sandwich enthusiasts at Manhattan’s Hudson Hotel, and together they celebrated all things meaty, cheesy and saucy between bread, as well as the ultimate accompaniment to sandwiches: soup.
Not one to stick with ordinary PB&Js or the everyday ham-and-cheese, Jeff offered the crowd of guests a dinnerlike sandwich, The Sloppy Greek (pictured left). FN Dish caught up with the host at his station, and he broke down each component of his signature sandwich: “Ground lamb, slowly seared and cooked with red wine, a bunch of spices [and] garlic, homemade feta tzatziki sauce with a little mint in there [and] cucumber-banana pepper relish served on a Martin’s potato roll.” What resulted was a bold, flavorful “Greek-inspired spin on a sloppy joe,” according to Jeff. “It’s delicious,” he added, and his fans surely agreed, given that he ran out of bread not long into the afternoon.
Elizabeth Falkner, a two-time competitor on The Next Iron Chef and the executive chef at New York’s Corvo Bianco restaurant, was on hand as well, only she featured seafood instead of meat as the centerpiece of her dish, an untraditional version of the classic BLT. This light but satisfying bite boasted crispy bacon, succulent lobster and juicy tomatoes.
Perhaps the ultimate soup-and-sandwich combination — that of tomato soup and grilled cheese — made an appearance at the event, thanks to Kutcher’s Tribeca and Sarabeth’s of New York City. Kutcher’s opted for a mix of cheddar and fontina sandwiched between Challah bread and a rich crouton-topped soup, while Sarabeth Levine dished out grilled cheeses on pretzel buns and offered shooters of her signature Velvety Cream of Tomato (pictured left).
The star sandwich of the afternoon proved to be Delicatessen’s Roasted Chicken Thigh Banh Mi (pictured below), voted on by guests as the best dish of the day. Executive Chef Michael Ferraro layered juicy chicken atop pickled vegetables and drizzled the meat with a creamy pate aioli to create a hearty sandwich that could hardly be contained by bread. Besides eternal bragging rights, the Delicatessen team took home a sandwich-topped trophy and a $5,000 check for the charity of their choice, the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.
Keep coming back to FN Dish all weekend long for more coverage of the festival.