National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day

January 14 is approaching, and everyone knows what that’s about: In 1784, the Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolutionary War. Ever since, it’s been customary to mark the date with a hot pastrami sandwich.

Just kidding about that last bit. Turns out the all-powerful pastrami lobby has struck again on this day, so we might as well make a sandwich about it.



For one sandwich:

  • ¼+ lb deli pastrami
  • 1 slice smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese
  • 1 tbsp Russian dressing (or substitute mayonnaise)
  • ½ tbsp red vinegar
  • 1 or 2 butter patties (or 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 2 slices bread; artisanal or rye is good (we used a rye-pumpernickel swirl)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pickle (optional garnish)


A. Warm the meat and melt the cheese:
1. Preheat oven to 325° F and lightly grease a baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.
2. Place the pastrami on the baking sheet, then the cheese on top of the meat, and place in oven.
B. Toast the bread:
3. In a large skillet, heat the butter on high heat. After a minute, lower to medium and place the bread in the skillet to toast.
4. Flip the slices after 3 minutes, toast for another 2 minutes.
5. When the bread is toasted, spoon red vinegar lightly on both slices.
6. Spread the dressing or mayo on the top slice and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
C. Season and complete:
7. Remove pastrami-and-cheese from oven (it’s been in there 5 minutes at this point) and build the sandwich.
8. Slice it in half — a diagonal cut is nice (see below) — and garnish with pickle.

We served ours with hot tomato soup basil, red pepper, cream and butternut squash — and a side of Cherry Walnut Bleu Cheese Salad, chilled. Both were from the local deli. The cherry walnut salad would even work as a topping, à la cole slaw.

•  •  •

♦ On sandwiches as triangles versus rectangles:
♦ You can stick it to the man today and make a pastrami Reuben, instead. No joiner, you.

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