Steak and Ginger-Pickle Sandwich

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This is a sandwich for when the Frenchman is businessing in Atlanta for the better part of the week. While he’s away, you deserve something tasty, but uncomplicated; laborious cooking is less fun for one.

This is a sandwich for when you agree to go to a (rather stodgy) holiday party with your parents, and the only menu item that seems remotely appealing is the surf & turf, a dish you haven’t had occasion to order since, well, ever. And so you eat the lobster tail, and ask the waiter to wrap up the 10-ounce piece of steak still languishing on your plate. Now you have 10-ounces of steak in your refrigerator.

It’s a sandwich for when you think: what can I do with this steak in my refrigerator? And then you decide to make a sandwich, because sandwiches are both easy and, when made properly, glorious. You decide to flash pickle onions and persian cucumbers with cider and rice wine vinegar, and (why not?) fresh ginger dropped in for flair and personality.

You promise yourself that this sandwich won’t take you farther than the grocery store across the street, but then you decide that you must have a pretzel roll, nothing but a pretzel roll will do. Why is nothing ever simple? So you hop on your bike (which needs air in the tires, by the way), and ride off to the store that sells pretzel rolls. They are springy; soft as cotton on the inside, with a chewy, slightly salty crust.

The refrigerator needs cleaning. It is a bastion of leftover bits and bops: a palmful of rice and beans, a few jem-bright olives floating in brine, more envelopes of half-wilted herbs than you care to mention, and a tupperware of what you think is mashed potatoes, but has been there so long you are afraid to peer underneath the foil lid. (Where is the actual lid?) You rescue a last spoonful of labneh, and pull the bottle of sriracha from the door. They will buffer the sandwich quite nicely.

Your sandwich is a success: each bite is in balance. The labneh is cold and creamy against sriracha’s heat and kick. The pickles, barely gingery, play foil to the tender steak. The bread is soft and salty against the fresh snap of cucumber. Not bad, not bad at all.

A note about the steak: For this sandwich, you can use restaurant leftovers, or cook up a piece of steak expressly for it. You could also use roast beef from the deli.

A note about the labheh: You can also use creamy, spreadable goat cheese if you like.

Serves 2


  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 Persian cucumber (or the smallest, firmest cuc you can find)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 3 peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 2 pretzel rolls
  • 6-ounces sirloin steak, medium rare
  • 2 tablespoons labneh
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha


1. Thinly slice the red onion. Slice the cucumber as well, keeping the cucumber slices on the thick side.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the apple cider vinegar with the rice wine vinegar, the honey, and the grated ginger. Lightly crush the peppercorns with the back of your knife, and add those as well. Move the onion and cucumber slices to the bowl, and then add enough cool water so that the vegetables are submerged. Pickle the vegetables for 20 minutes-1 hour.

pickled onion and cucumber

3. Meanwhile, slice the steak as thinly as you like. Cut each pretzel roll in half, and toast them lightly; spread one side with labneh, and the other side with sriracha.

pretzel roll
sliced steak

sriracha and labneh, on bread

4. Pile the steak slices and the pickled vegetables onto the sandwich. Enjoy!

steak and pickle sandwich, inside

steak and pickle sandwich, vertical


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