© David Loftus
The origin of the Reuben sandwich is hotly disputed, but many New Yorkers say it began in Reuben’s Deli on East 58th Street. A classic Reuben sandwich should have Thousand Island dressing, but this is my version. Try it with nice smoked ham if you can’t find pastrami.
Grill the slices of bread on a griddle pan until lightly toasted on both sides then spread one side of each with mayonnaise. Put some of the sauerkraut and some of the chilli on 2 of the slices, and top with a couple of slices of pastrami. Top with the remaining sauerkraut and chilli and the sliced gherkins, then grate the Swiss cheese over the top.
Preheat a hot grill. Place the slices with toppings under the grill until the cheese is melted and dribbling.
Stack the sandwich together, adding a few watercress leaves and finishing with the final slice of toast. Press down lightly and use wooden skewers to hold together. Tuck in!
• 3 big 1cm slices of rye bread
• 4 heaped tablespoons sauerkraut
• 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
• 4–5 slices of pastrami
a few gherkins, sliced
• 100g Swiss cheese
• a handful of watercress leaves, to serve