Nifty Deli Trick: The Lamb Sandwich

I am a buyer of cold cuts. I was standing at the deli counter the other day, remembering when the low-carb thing "hit." One way devotees all seemed to be coping was by rolling ham and Swiss or other beloved combinations into sad little cigars, possibly dipping them in mustard before unenthusiastically "digging in." I am so glad I was too young for that, that would have sucked. Then I thought about the concept of the naked cold cut with no bread to hide behind, and I decided that we're better than that — all of us — which was what landed me at the deli counter in the first place. I'm getting to the lamb, be patient, first more sentiments.

I'm lucky to live in a neighborhood positively rife with delis of all kinds — Jewish, diner-style, gourmet grocery — where the guys behind the counter really know what they're doing. This is no cookie cutter supermarket Boar's Head-peddling operation, so I thought I'd try an experiment. I wanted not turkey, not ham, certainly not olive loaf, but lamb, rare and thinly sliced like roast beef. Such an option does not exist even in the best of these deli situations...unless I make a lamb roast, pack it up, bring it to the deli and slip the guy $20 to slice it on the machine.

Success! I made sure to go on an off-hour, not during lunch or right after work and flash my very most charming, most "please I really, really want to experiment with roast beef-style lamb in sandwiches" face. Here are some ideas for your brand-spanking new cold cut.

  • Homemade tzatziki, sliced red onions and torn fresh mint leaves
  • Harissa and sliced green olives
  • Cucumber, tomato, feta and pesto
  • Coriander chutney, Greek yogurt mixed with a sprinkle of ground cumin
  • Mayo, arugula and a smear of raspberry jam or marmalade
  • Balsamic reduction, spinach and crumbled blue cheese

Think of any of those with lame sliced turkey breast. Now reconsider them with juicy, flavorful lamb. Make friends with your deli guy and become the change you want to see in the world.

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