Here’s a“future classic” from Max and Eli Sussman’sthird cookbook, Classic Recipes for Modern People. The potential for cornbread and brisket sandwiches making their way to your dinner table tonight is very strong, they predict.
Every once in a while we just have to pat ourselves on the back for doing something we haven’t seen in other cookbooks. We aren’t entirely sure we’re the first to make a brisket patty melt using cornbread, but we are sure this is the best version out there. A vast improvement on the close-to-perfect patty melt is enough to make us feel pretty good about this recipe. When you start seeing this on the menu of every chain restaurant in America in five years, just remember who thought of it first.
- 2 pounds beef brisket
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Pinch red-pepper flakes
- olive oil spray
- 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 3 Serrano chilies, seeded and minced
- 4 green onions, minced
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus one tablespoon
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 small red onion, cut into thick rounds
- 4 slices gruyere cheese
- Unsalted butte, for frying
For the brisket
Cut the meat into 1-inch pieces. In a wide pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the brisket and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, and sauté until softened and caramelized, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, brown sugar and tomato paste and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the stock and red-pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the meat is falling apart and tender, 2 to 3 hours. Add water if the pan begins to dry. The meat should be just barely covered with liquid when it is ready. If there is too much liquid at the end, transfer the liquid to a small saucepan and simmer until reduced.
For the corn bread
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper and spread with olive oil.
In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, chilies, and green onions. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, and olive oil. Add the milk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and fold just until the batter is blended; it will be slightly lumpy. Add the egg and fold until blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely.
For the sandwiches
While the cornbread is cooling, heat the olive oil in a heavy frying pan over high heat. Add the onion and cook, turning once, until deeply caramelized, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Cut the corn bread into 4 equal pieces, then halve each piece horizontally. Place one-fourth of the braised beef brisket on the cut side of a bottom piece of corn bread. Top with 1 tablespoon of the onion, a slice of Gruyère cheese, and then the top piece of corn bread, cut-side down. Repeat to make 3 more sandwiches.
In a large nonstick frying pan, melt about 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the sandwiches, turning once and adding butter as needed, until the bread is browned and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.