Meat Loaf Sandwiches with Tomato Relish on Garlic Bread
The only thing that could improve this unpretentious comfort food is, perhaps, a heap of perfectly crisp, golden, double-cooked french fries. That, and the sandwich's tangy topping of charred tomatoes that's vaguely, compellingly familiar. The meat loaf itself gets its extra depth of flavor from a blend of ground beef, pork, and buffalo.
1 cup white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground buffalo
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large eggs
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 ripe tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon coarse salt
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 loaf rye bread, sliced, grilled or toasted
2 cups mache
Make the meat loaf: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix milk and bread in a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes. Mix in the remaining ingredients through salt using your hands; season with pepper. Form meat mixture into a 5-by-12-inch loaf on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until browned and meat loaf registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Make the tomato relish: Preheat broiler. Arrange tomatoes on a baking sheet, and brush with oil. Broil tomatoes until softened and charred, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then chop.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add water and sugar, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half. Add charred tomatoes, vinegar, and honey, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Stir in cayenne and salt. Strain, and discard liquid. Let cool. (Relish will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.)
To assemble: Puree garlic and oil in a blender. Brush 1 side of each slice of bread with garlic oil. Top half the bread with meat loaf, tomato relish, and mache. Top with remaining bread, garlic-oil side down. Serve with fries.
Buffalo meat lends a rich flavor to this meat loaf, but you can use an equal amount of veal, pork, or beef instead.