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Remake reuben as salmon panini

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 12:01 am

This is not your grandfather's Reuben sandwich.

The Reuben was built on corned beef, but I swap that out with smoked salmon. I hold fast to the classic version's melted cheese, I lose the untoasted rye bread in favor of a grilled panini. The idea to begin with was to lighten it up, a sandwich that erupts with flavor as you eat it, but sits in your gut like a rock for days.

As for the Reuben's standard Thousand Island dressing, I slimmed it down and spiced it up by using low-fat mayo and chili sauce (instead of the more traditional ketchup), then combined it all with chopped dill pickle and a squeeze of lemon. Likewise, when it came time to cook, I used extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter.

Why panini? I think that a pressed sandwich, especially one with cheese, always tastes better than a non-pressed one, because of the former's crispy crust. I just put my layered sandwich in a skillet, top it with a plate or lid, and top that with a heavyweight can of tomatoes.

Smoked salmon reuben

Start to finish: 30 minutes (15 minutes active)

Servings: 4

1/4 cup low-fat mayo

2 tablespoons chili sauce (the kind served with shrimp cocktail)

2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Kosher salt, ground black pepper

8 slices rye bread

4 ounces thinly sliced Gruyere, fontina or Swiss cheese

4 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon

14 1/2 -ounce can sauerkraut, drained, rinsed and gently squeezed to remove excess liquid

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In small bowl, combine mayo, chili sauce, pickle and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread one side of each slice of bread with some of dressing. Arrange half of cheese on 4 of the slices. Divide salmon, sauerkraut and cheese among cheese-topped slices of bread and top each with one of remaining bread slices, spread side down.

In skillet over medium, heat oil until hot. Add sandwiches and something heavy (such as a cast iron skillet, flat saucepan lid or heat-safe plate and weight such as can of food) to firmly press sandwiches down. Cook for 6 minutes per side, or until golden and cheese has melted.

Per serving: 510 calories; 260 calories from fat (51% of calories); 29 g fat (9 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 50 mg cholesterol; 39 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 19 g protein; 1,850 mg sodium.