It's an unlikely intersection, the meeting of the cult favorite quarterly food magazine Lucky Peach and a mostly-below-the-radar St. Louis secret, sandwich, the St. Paul. Lucky Peach has just published its first cookbook, Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes, and it includes a recipe for the St. Paul.
The cookbook, let us explain, doesn't pretend to be authentic. They're very clear about that. What they're aiming for is home-cook-friendly food that tastes good. And they're achieving that. It's a very useful book, with a pictorial shopping guide – I fully expect to see people wandering the aisles of Global Foods with the book open in their cart as they search for dried shiitakes and sambal oelek. There's a discussion of the virtues of the inexpensive wok and other equipment, too.
How did the St. Paul, which is basically egg foo yung (or, to get even more familiar, an omelet) without sauce, get into their book? We're not sure. There are no St. Louisans on staff, they say. But they lovingly describe it as an egg foo yung pancake “liberated from the brown sauce hell it was doomed to”. It's a St. Louis dish, they say, but they (too) have no idea how it got credited to the city in Minnesota. Looking at the recipe, it could be a fast weeknight dinner, if not dietarily virtuous. They also include a photo (above) of what has to be the tidiest, most handsome St. Paul ever.
Here's the recipe. Our only editorial comment is that we might toss a few shelled and cut up shrimp in with the stir fry instead of the suggested beef, pork, or chicken.
ST. PAUL SANDWICH
Makes 2 sandwiches
3 T. neutral oil
1 C. bean sprouts
¼ C. thinly sliced green onions
2 T. minced serrano or bell pepper
1 tsp. soy sauce
¼ c. diced cooked ham, chicken or beef
2 large eggs
1 T. cornstarch
To assemble sandwich:
4 slices white bread, lightly toasted
dill pickle slices
Make the egg foo yung: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the bean sprouts, green onions and minced pepper and cook until the vegetables are sizzling and slightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Season the mixture with the soy sauce and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Stir in the meat, if using.
Crack the eggs into a bowl, then add the cornstarch and beat with a fork to combine. Pour over the vegetable mixture and stir until everything is coated with the egg.
Reheat the skillet over medium-low heat and slick with 1 tablespoon oil. Scoop half the egg batter into the pan and use a spatula to coax it into a tight, 4-inch wide fritter/pancake/patty. Cook until the edges are brown and set then flip and continue cooking until the patty is slightly puffed and cooked through, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat to make 2 pancakes. Keep warm.
Assemble the sandwiches. Spread the toast with mayonnaise and top with lettuce, tomato, pickles and an egg foo yuong pancake.
by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach
Jap Chae, a Korean dish made with sweet potato noodles, from the same book.