Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dressed to Kill

Gonna dress you up in my love
All over, all over
Gonna dress you up in my love
All over your body
--Madonna, "Dress You Up"

The word on the street for hot dogs this year is DRESSED UP. Of course, dressed up is the way many discriminating dog lovers have been doin' it for decades, especially in such advanced hot dog civilizations as, say, Chicago. But sometimes those of us who live in somewhat less sophisticated hot dog cultures need a little encouragement to go to town, so to speak. I mean I love an all-dressed toasté as much as the next guy (possibly even a whole lot more than the next guy), but does mustard, onions, salade au chou, and day-glo relish really qualify as ALL-DRESSED?

the fix is in fig. a: the fix is in

A recent whirlwind excursion to the Big Onion resulted in a number of astounding drinking and dining experiences (news to follow), but when the dust settled, we also found ourselves in the possession of a beautiful, if dear, jar of McClure's premium garlic & dill spears. And suddenly we started dressing our dogs in more elaborate attire.

AEB Superdawgs*

4 premium wieners of your choosing**
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
premium pickle spears, such as McClure's
premium pickled green tomatoes, such as Graves
and/or premium chow-chow, such as ours
and/or premium relish, such as McClure's
premium extra-spicy mustard, such as Philippe's
quality mayonnaise, such as Hellmann's
2 green chile peppers, preferably Anaheim, diced
minced onion, preferably red or vidalia
8-12 ripe, delicious cherry tomatoes, quartered
olive oil
red wine vinegar (optional)
freshly ground black pepper

2-4 hot dog buns, toasted

Prepare your garnishes and assemble your dressings and accompaniments. In the case of the cherry tomatoes, toss them with just a bit of olive oil and a touch of red wine vinegar (if you so desire), and salt and pepper them to taste. In the case of the pickle spears, slice any and all pickle halves into thirds lengthwise to make long, slender spears.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place your wieners in the pan and slowly roast them until they are crispy and even just a little bit blistered all over. If done properly and patiently, this should take several minutes.

When the dogs are cooked to perfection, add the green chiles to the pan and stir-fry them quickly. If you need a bit more oil to do so, add the second tablespoon of oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Finally, toast your buns in your hot, lightly oiled pan.

Slather your toasted buns with pickled green tomatoes (and/or chow-chow and relish) on one side, hot mustard and mayonnaise on the other. Place the hot dogs and a couple of pickle spears in the buns. Add the onions and sauteed chile peppers. Top with tomatoes.

Muster up the courage to somehow hold that overstuffed bad boy together and devour.

Satisfies 2-4 mightily.

Now, we have a bit of a hot dog bun problem in Montreal. We can get decent steamé/toasté buns like POM, but one of the reasons that our dogs aren't particularly overstuffed and those of, say, Chicago often are, has to do with the vehicle. Let's face it, our standard hot dog buns just don't have the girth and the character to handle a seriously dressed-up dog, even when they've been properly toasted. Which is why we've been experimenting with alternative vehicles here at the AEB Labs.

So, for instance, your basic Portuguese bun has a lot more to do with a traditional sausage bun than it does a traditional hot dog, but at least it's capable of carrying a heavy load like an AEB Superdawg. Not ideal, but fresh and functional. [Note: if you follow our lead and use a Portuguese bun, be sure to rip out some of the bread from the inside, otherwise it will be too bready and will overwhelm your dog. That extra bread is fine for a sausage sandwich, but a hot dog? Not so much.]

superdawg attack 1

superdawg attack 2 figs. b & c: superdawg attack!

The folks at Cheskie used to make a long, peppery onion bun that had plenty of character, but they seem to have changed their recipe recently and added whole wheat flour to the mix. So sad.

So the search goes on... Which means, if you live in Montreal and you have any ideas, please, do tell.

Meanwhile, we've been enjoying our Superdawgs with a rotating cast of vehicles.

Calling the AEB Superdawg a taste sensation would be an understatement. Yes, you guessed it--that dawg is dressed to kill.


* With apologies to Superdawg of Chicago.

** Substitute with a premium veggie dog of your choosing, if you must.

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