Sandwich #200—“The Fake Brazilian” Steak, “Foie Gras” and Pineapple

By 300 Sandwiches

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200brazilianLOSince I’m officially two thirds of the way to 300, I wanted to make something special for E.

I thought back to one of the happiest times in our lives: this time last year when we had just returned from Brazil, a vacation that got extended an extra week because Hurricane Sandy shut down the airports in New York, and we couldn’t fly back until they reopened.

cervantessandwichWhile there, we went to the legendary sandwich shop Cervantes, located near Copacabana beach. They have like, 40 different types of sandwiches on a long menu, most with pineapple, all for ridiculously cheap. A friend of ours told us we could only order one thing—their filet mignon, foie gras and pineapple sandwich (pictured left). But he didn’t tell us that they slather on what would equate to a night out’s worth of foie gras in the states on their bread. If the sandwich costs $10, they give you at least $30 worth of foie gras.

That’s what I wanted to recreate for E. But a busy career gal like me who has a problem with planning ahead didn’t have time to scour all over town for foie gras yesterday morning. So before work, I ducked into Whole Foods praying they sold the stuff.

When I asked a butcher, he pointed me to a refrigerator of Mediterranean spreads and cheeses, and then, he pointed to their only option: Faux Gras, a pate of soy, lentils and walnuts. I laughed out loud at seeing this stuff, which looked like fancy brown hummus on first glance. Pressed for time, and curious about the taste, but nervous about how our stomachs would react to the stuff, I bought it.

faux-grasThen I had to figure out how to tote it around through a book party and a gala without carrying a cumbersome Whole Foods grocery bag. Luckily my oversize clutch was just big enough to tote the small flat tub of Faux Gras around. But while I glad-handed with writers and philanthropists all night, I had to shield my Faux Gras from people while I dug into my purse to produce business cards or reach for my phone. Classy, right?

Finally, I got home in time to make the sandwich with steak, pineapple slices and my now warm Faux Gras on crusty bread from Tom Cat Bakery. E had picked up skirt steak the other night, thinking that would be easier to make sandwich appropriate slices from. I thought it was okay, but maybe prime rib would have been better, particularly if the thought of slicing a beautiful cut of filet mignon into sandwich slices makes your eyes water. Despite swapping filet mignon for skirt steak and foie gras for this vegan Faux Gras spread, the sandwich was still tasty. I even liked the Faux Gras better than regular foie gras.

I’d rather be eating the real version of this sandwich in Brazil on Copacabana Beach right now, as the temperature drops to the 40s today. But until out next vacation to the South, this is a perfectly decent stand in.

1 large Portuguese roll or sub
4 or 5 slices steak
couple slices foie gras
2 or 3 slices pineapple

Grill steak to desired doneness. Slice bread open and layer on steak, foie gras (or, ahem slather on as much Faux Gras as you like) and pineapple. Top with top of bun, and in a skillet or panini press warm sandwich until bread is golden brown. Slice in half and serve.

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