Pastrami is a wonderfully diverse deli product. Usually brined, it is rich and flavorful enough to make amazing sandwiches, the most popular of which is usually identified as the Reuben. If you are trying to spice up your restaurant's menu with new and creative food ideas, you should know that there are many other ways to use pastrami in recipes--many of which aren't even slightly related to sandwiches. In this short guide, you'll get the skinny on three delicious and inventive pastrami-based dishes.
Yes, you read that correctly. While Pastrami Sushi isn't a true sushi, in the sense that it doesn't contain seafood, it makes an excellent appetizer or even main course if done correctly. If your restaurant already has sushi supplies on hand, this will be immensely easy for you--just wrap extremely thin slices of pastrami around a California roll, and you're good to go.
If not, use the following ingredients to masterfully craft a beautiful and rich umami snack.
- One semi-firm avocado, cut into small log-like shapes
- Julienned cucumber
- Sushi rice
- Seaweed (optional)
Prep the sushi rice in advance if you're doing a large batch, and then use a sushi roller to lay it out. Start by laying down the rice, then lay the julienned cucumber strips across the rice. Then, place the avocado strips across the rice, too.
Roll the entire thing up with the sushi roller, and then cut into sizeable portions. For the final step, use very thin-cut, low-marble pastrami to either wrap the entire roll or accent it on one side.
If you want to turn up the heat a bit, dash the roll with just a tiny bit of either piri piri sauce or buffalo sauce. You can also add other vegetables, but stay with options that don't feature an overwhelming blast of flavor--they'll overpower the pastrami and ruin the recipe. Celery, cucumber and zucchini are all excellent choices, while red or orange pepper aren't likely to work quite as well.
Pastrami and Seafood Chowder
This one's lovely, warm, and just perfect for winter or fall dinners. You can use any seafood chowder base you like, either making it from scratch or buying it pre-made--either works just fine. The secret to this recipe is in using the water you cook the mussels in rather than regular water alone.
This recipe makes just enough for a single dish, but you can multiply it out to serve any number of people by multiplying the measurements.
Part 1 Ingredients:
- 1 lb of mussels, freshly purchased locally whenever possible
- 2 Cups of water
- Salt to taste
Clean the mussels well of seaweed and other debris. Bring the water and salt to a boil, and then add them to the pot--about three to three and a half minutes is plenty, don't overcook.
Drain the water away from the mussels, saving it in a reservoir for the next step. Shell your mussels and set the meat aside.
Step 2 ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted, grass-fed butter
- One red onion OR equivalent shallots, finely chopped
- One large celery stalk, chopped into very small wedges
- 1/4-cup of real baby carrots
- Bay leaves
- 1/4-teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt OR sea salt
- 1/8-cup of plain white flour
- Freshly ground white peppercorns to taste
- Fresh coriander
- One peeled and cut red potato, cubed
- 1/4-lb of thick-cut, freshly roasted pastrami
- 2 cups of whole milk
- Garlic cloves to taste, fresh
Start by melting the butter in a pot, and then add the onion, celery and bay leaves. Allow this mixture to cook until the onions and celery begin to brown, taking special care not to burn the butter.
While you're waiting, add the baby carrots to a pot of water and cook until softened, yet still somewhat firm.
Once the vegetables have begun to brown, add the flour and use a whisk to create a roux from the ingredients. If you find the mixture is still to dry, add another teaspoon of butter and continue to whisk until you have a nice, thick roux. Next, add your cracked white peppercorns and fresh coriander.
Begin mixing in your reserved mussel water, leaving the meat itself aside for now. Try to add approximately 1/4-cup at a time for better incorporation. Once incorporated, set the heat to medium-low and begin to whisk in the milk in the same manner. It's best to be conservative here, because it's far easier to fix your chowder if it's too thick than if it's too thin.
Once you're satisfied with the consistency, drop in the sugar and whisk for 30 seconds. Then, add the potatoes, chopped garlic, pastrami, and carrots. Allow the chowder to cook on low for approximately 15 minutes, or until you're satisfied with the softness of the vegetables.
If desired, tweak the recipe for flavor with spices like summer savory, paprika or sage.
Once the vegetables are done, take the chowder off the heat and drop in the pastrami and mussel meat. Allow the chowder to rest on the turned-off burner for at least five minutes.
Serve immediately with freshly baked biscuits and a glass of white wine.
Having pastrami in-house can open up your restaurant menu in a number of ways. Not only does it produce amazing sandwiches, but it can also be chopped and added to many other recipes, too. These two amazingly creative recipes will get you started. Whenever possible, use the highest quality pastrami you can find--it really will impact the overall flavor. Don't have time to make it in-house? Contact a food supplier (like City Foods Inc/Bea's Best) today and set up a regular delivery service.