As dedicated omnivores, we occasionally have to point out to our vegetarian friends that sometimes, the best sandwiches really are all about meat. BLTs, patty melts, a meatball parm—meatless versions just aren't quite the same.
But in the case of the Smoked Vegetable Cuban at Cafe Clover in New York City, they might be even better. Rather than reaching for smoked pork, executive chef David Standridge took celery root and treated it just as he would the pig.
"Essentially, I wanted to create the flavors of smoked pork with celery root, so what I do is treat it just like smoked pork," he says. "We brine it in the exact same brine I’ve always used for hams (salt, brown sugar, spices) and then sear it on the plancha and smoke it over applewood chips."
The bread: Standridge chose a wheat baguette from Amy's Bread, which uses grains grown only in New York state.
The filling: He layers the baguette with that smoked celery root, roasted baby carrots and grilled asparagus for the vegetable base—plus cheddar cheese (can't have a Cuban without melty cheese), Dijon and pickles.