Even gourmet chefs appreciate the low-priced food at the Masters. When Ming Tsai is at Augusta National, "I eat it all," he told us. They might not be served with couscous or haricot verts, but the low-price menu items available to patrons at the Masters each year are a hit for Tsai, a celebrity chef and avid golfer who hosts "Simply Ming" on PBS. What's his go-to grub when he's at the tournament? He combines the fried-chicken and pimento-cheese sandwiches to create a monster hybrid. "It's heaven!" says the owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Mass., an award-winning restaurant. Ming's sandwich on steroids—which sounds like a college food-truck staple—is great if you're fortunate enough to attend the Masters. But if you're watching the tournament from home, your taste buds are in luck. We asked Tsai to take two of the most popular items on the Masters menu and give them a makeover. Here are his updates on the famous pimento-cheese and egg-salad sandwiches. They'll cost you more to eat than the $1.50 originals, but, oh, are they worth it.
RED ROAST PULLED PORK & PIMENTO CHEESE SANDWICH
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
8 slices of bread, toasted
1 cup pimento cheese
Red-roast pork (see ingredients below)
Asian slaw (see ingredients below)
• Spread ¼ cup of pimento cheese onto 1 piece of the toasted bread. Top with red-roast pork and Asian slaw, then top with another piece of toasted bread to complete the sandwich.
RED ROAST PORK
1 bottle dry red wine
2 cups soy sauce
2 cups water
14 ounces rock sugar (or 2 cups of dark brown sugar)
5 pieces ginger, long ¼-inch discs
1 head garlic, unpeeled and halved horizontally
2 bunches scallions, white part sliced into 3-inch lengths, green part sliced ⅛-inch thick
2 star anise
3 dried Thai bird chiles
2 cinnamon sticks
4-6 pound boneless pork butt with fat cap, keep whole. For faster cooking, cut into one-inch cubes.
1) In a 6-quart pressure cooker over high heat, add the wine, soy sauce and water. Bring to a boil.
2) Add dark brown sugar, ginger, garlic, white part of scallions, star anise, Thai bird chiles, cinnamon sticks; stir to dissolve sugar.
3) Add pork to cooker. If liquid doesn't cover pork, add a touch more water. Lock lid in place and bring to high pressure and cook for about 1½ hours. (If in cubes, will only take 30 minutes.) Remove from heat and let pressure release naturally. If not using pressure cooker, bring liquid so a simmer for 3½ hours for whole piece or 1½ hours for cubes.
4) Carefully remove lid, tilting it away from you to avoid any excess steam.
5) Pull out aromatics (cinnamon stick, chiles and star anise) and pull the pork apart.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sambal sauce
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons grape-seed oil
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
3 cups finely shredded green cabbage
1 small head radicchio, shredded
1 cup shredded carrots
Freshly ground black pepper for taste
1) In a small bowl, whisk together Dijon, Sambal, lemon zest and juice, grapeseed oil, and scallion whites.
2) In a large bowl, combine scallion greens, cabbage, radicchio and carrots. Add the vinaigrette, salt and pepper. Toss well and check flavor. Adjust seasoning if necessary and store in fridge, covered, for fifteen minutes before serving, to allow cabbage to soften.
TEA-SMOKED SALMON & EGG-SALAD CANAPÉ
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
4 slices of bread, toasted
2 cups egg salad
12 ounces tea-smoked salmon, flaked (recipe below)
4 dollops of chive Greek yogurt
• Evenly spread ½ cup of egg salad on top of 1 slice of toast. Place 3 ounces of flaked smoked salmon over the egg salad and top with a dollop of chive Greek yogurt. Garnish with fresh cracked black pepper.
12 ounces skinless salmon fillet, preferably center cut
1 cup and a tablespoon of sugar
½ cup sake (preferably TY KU)
4-inch piece fresh ginger, julienned
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon toasted Szechwan peppercorns (or black peppercorns)
1 cup long-grain rice
1 cup Lapsang Souchong or Oolong tea leaves
(Preferably cooked on a wok or bamboo steamer, but you can also use a piece of tin foil on your grill.)
1) Place the salmon fillets in a baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon sugar with the sake, ginger, salt and peppercorns. Stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Pour over the salmon, cover, and allow to brine, refrigerated, about 1 hour.
2) Line a large sauté pan or wok with foil*. Add the rice, remaining cup of sugar, and tea. Remove the salmon from brining mixture and place it in a bamboo steamer basket. Heat the wok over medium heat until the rice mixture begins to smoke. Dampen two dishcloths. Fit the steamer into the wok and fold and wrap the towels around the juncture of the wok and the steamer to make a seal. Cover the wok, turn the heat to low, and smoke the salmon for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and smoke the salmon for 15 minutes more. The salmon will be cooked medium-rare to medium. Keep the salmon warm in the wok.
*If you don't have a wok and bamboo steamer, you can use your grill. Simply light one side of the grill, place the tin foil with the rice, tea, and sugar on the grate over the lit flame. Place the salmon onto a sheet tray and place onto the unlit side of the grill. Follow smoking instructions with the grill lid down.
CHIVE GREEK YOGURT
1 cup full-fat, plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup thinly sliced chives
A pinch of kosher salt
• Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
8 ham & cheese Augusta National sandwiches, spread with mayo on the outside and pressed as thin as possible in a panini press until crispy
4 slices, about ½-inch thick, peeled, cored and grilled pineapple
1 cup Tomato Jam (see recipe below)
1) Spread 2 tablespoons of tomato jam onto the top of each pressed sandwich. Place the grilled pineapple on top of one of the sandwiches then place the other sandwich tomato jam-side down on top of the pineapple. Repeat with remaining sandwiches; you should have four sandwiches.
2) Place four toothpicks, one on each side of the sandwich, evenly spaced apart and pushed through each layer of the sandwich. Cut the sandwich in half diagonally, from corner to corner, then repeat in opposite direction to create four equal triangles – each triangle should be held together with the toothpick.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small sweet yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 can (15 ounces) whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed and drained
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 teaspoons chipotle in adobo, add more for a spicier kick
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1) Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and caramelize for 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook 3 minutes.
2) Add the drained tomatoes and chipotle to the pan; cook down 15-20 minutes until liquid is evaporated and mixture has thickened.
3) Stir in honey and check for seasoning.
Photograph by Alex Lau/Bon Appétit • Food Styling by Samantha Seneviratne • Ming Tsai illustration by Kate Copeland