Tyler Kord is not a calm man. As the chef/owner of No. 7 Restaurant and multiple No. 7 Sub Shops in New York City, he channels his neurotic energy into creating marvelously innovative sandwiches with names like "The Fabulous, Most Groovy, Bellbottoms!!!" and "Total Chaos & Destruction," as well as plenty of broccoli tacos, because he possesses an odd and intense love of broccoli.
And for a while, he spent the rest of his time and psyche writing A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches, with editor Francis Lam (which will become relevant in just a sec). Not only are the recipes ridiculously appealing (and a good deal easier to execute than might appear at first glance), they contain some of the most subversive, side-splitting writing you'll find in any cookbook—or book—this year.
Plus there's a recipe below for making cigarettes tastes better, which, don't smoke, kids—but also... yay?
That Time Chris Parnell Played Benedict Arnold on Drunk History, The Sandwich
This sandwich sounds so awesome that I refuse to even test it. Francis, this recipe is untested. “Daring” you say? “Stupid and irresponsible”? [That’s stupid and irresponsible. —Ed.] Well, I am in charge of my own destiny, and I refuse to make this sandwich because I will bet the house on the fact that it is so, so good! There is enough vinegar in the brine to poach a beautiful egg and enough salt to make it delicious. And avocado and onions win every time! I’m still listening to “Easy Lover” from the last recipe I wrote, and I feel like Phil Collins would want me to let this one ride. And I know what Philip Bailey would say! But I can’t print it because this is a family book.
Seriously, get ready for this. We are making cookbook history in that you are doing a recipe that has never been tested! It might be terrible! Actually, I’ll bet that a lot of recipes are never tested, and maybe that’s why Mark Bittman ruined one of my first dinner parties ever by telling me that I could roast a 3- to 4-pound chicken in 40 minutes. I would like to officially thank everybody who came to my How to Cook Everything party in Greenpoint in 2001 for their patience and understanding. [We publish Mark, and whether he is helping readers cook simple, delicious, healthful meals or offering commentary on the most important food politics or health issues of our time, his books are excellent. (We didn’t publish How to Cook Everything, though. For complaints regarding that title, please contact Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.) —Ed.] Thanks for having my back, Francis. And for the record, I think Mark Bittman is totally awesome, and I have tons of imaginary conversations with him regarding my own concerns on eating meat vs. not eating meat. I just think that he has a fancy convection oven and I almost served medium-rare chicken to a bunch of friends who to this day probably still think it’s weird that I’m a chef.
In Korean, the word muchim means “mixed” or “seasoned” but is generally employed to describe a Korean cucumber salad called “oi muchim.” It is spicy and intense and tastes a little bit like a fresh (as in non-fermented) kimchi. At No. 7 Sub, I wanted to fuse oi muchim with a classic kosher dill pickle. We use whole Kirby cucumbers and marinate them in the oniony, garlicky brine described below for a few days.
And when we decided to try the brine on lychees, it made something super magical! Here is the main recipe for the brine and a few suggestions of what to brine with it, but you should use it for anything that you like to pickle.
Here are just a few examples of things that are awesome in this brine:
Add 2 large cucumbers, sliced into ¼-inch chips.
Drain one 20-ounce can of lychees (save the syrup to make cocktails!), halve them, and combine them with the marinade.
Add 4 ripe peaches, pits removed and sliced into ½-inch wedges.
Add 3 large beefsteak tomatoes, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces.
Peel and devein 1 pound shrimp, slice them in half lengthwise, cook
them, and add them to the brine.
Here are some things that would not be super awesome in this brine:
Do you have a container that big anyway?
This brine will not preserve things in the way you need it to. Isn’t there somebody in your life that you can really talk to?
Actually, if you wanted to soak your cigarettes in this, and then let them dry out again, I’ll bet they would be pretty awesome.
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced against the grain, then minced
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
A few drops of sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons red chile flakes (this is a pretty spicy recipe, so if you’re not into it, maybe just do 1 teaspoon, but keep in mind it is just a small component of a sandwich, so don’t take the chiles out entirely or I will know)
1 cup white vinegar
2 whole scallions, thinly sliced
½ tablespoon kosher salt
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 400°F. If you have a toaster you can skip this step. I am a minimalist, so I don’t buy into the consumerist ideology that I need a toaster.
Stir together the garlic, ginger, shallot, sesame oil, sugar, chile flakes, vinegar, scallions, and salt until thoroughly mixed. This marinade can be used to pickle just about anything. Just soak whatever you’d like in the brine for at least an hour before using, and save it in the brine, refrigerated, for up to a couple of weeks.