After winning the opening rounds of the World Sandwich Championship, whether right or wrong, I decided to play it safe. I decided on a sandwich that was probably too simple and didn’t have a million layers of ingredients, but it was original, it was Florida, it was comfort food.
For those of us who grew up around Tampa Bay, deviled crab rolls are a favorite menu item in many restaurants. However, outside of Tampa, they are virtually unheard of, so I decided to take my beloved deviled crab roll and turn it into a sandwich. Since we were required to use Red Gold Sriracha Ketchup, I figured it was a natural fit.
For those unfamiliar with the deviled crab, it is simply a mixture of crab, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and a variety of spices. It’s thick, rich, spicy, and hearty, and seemingly perfect for a lobster roll type sandwich. To make ours a bit more complex, we added a cole slaw made with key limes and thick cut Bill-E’s Small Batch Bacon to cool the spice of the sriracha and cut through the richness of the crab.
The only real challenge we faced in making the sandwich come to life was finding a vessel in which to serve it. A hoagie roll seemed to bulky and a hot dog bun wasn’t bulky enough. Like Goldilocks, we needed something just right, and at midnight before finals competition, it hit me…Texas Toast buns. So, at 7am, Publix came to our rescue with loaves of Italian bread that we made into our Texas Toast buns.
2-3 TBSP olive oil
1 large purple onion-chopped
1 medium white onion-chopped
1 c. green pepper-finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves-mashed
1/2 c. High Heel Brewing Slingback Perry Ale (or any citrus-y ale)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6 oz tomato paste
¼ c. Sriracha ketchup
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 lb. crab meat
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 bag cole slaw mix or precut salad mix of cabbage, kale, carrots, onions, etc.
8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
1/8 c. key lime juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
4 chopped green onions—white and green parts
8 slices of crisp cooked bacon–chopped into bits
Salt & pepper to taste
1 loaf Italian Bread–cut into 2″ slices
½ c. butter
1 tsp garlic powder
2 TBSP vermouth
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
In a skillet, saute onion, garlic, green bell peppers, and celery in olive oil for 15 minutes over medium-low heat. Do not let garlic burn. Add ale to deglaze. Add remaining ingredients, except crab and cheese, and cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes. Add water if necessary to prevent burning. Add crab meat, and stir to combine. Saute another 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare slaw. In a bowl, combine Greek yogurt, lime juice, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt & pepper. In a large bowl, combine salad, bacon bits, and green onions. Add dressing mixture and toss to combine.
Melt butter, vermouth, garlic powder, and parsley flakes in a pan over low heat. DO not allow to brown. Brush sides of bread slices with mixture and toast in the oven until lightly brown. When done, use a knife to cut a pocket into each slice.
Spoon a small amount of slaw in the bottom. Top with a generous portion of crab filling. Sprinkle with cheese. Place under the broiler for 30 seconds-1 minute or until cheese melts. DO NOT LET THIS BURN. Top with more slaw and serve!