New Jersey Food Journal

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Fat Darrell, Reimagined

Photo illustration by Amber Figueroa

New Jersey Food Journal asked the culinary experts at the legendary Ryland Inn in Whitehouse Station to reinvent the Fat Darrell.

By Nicholas Andre

In reimagining the Fat Darrell, Martyna Krowicka elevates tomato, chicken and cheese to create a more healthful, yet still satisfying, sandwich.

Krowicka, sous chef at The Ryland Inn, swapped out standard Italian bread for a tomato-studded version that is similar to focaccia. Instead of mozzarella sticks, she used breaded Tallegio, a mild, semi-soft cheese. The French fries have been replaced with crispy, mandolin-cut, fried potatoes, and soggy chicken fingers are exchanged for chicken thighs poached in maple sap, rosemary and thyme. The thighs are dredged in flour, smoked salt and paprika, then fried to a deep golden brown.

Standing in for standard marinara is a smoked tomato reduction, which may be the best ingredient of the entire sandwich. Made with garlic, shallots, brown sugar and olive oil, Krowicka confessed it’s a favorite of the Ryland’s kitchen staff.

The taste difference is extreme. The simplest way to describe it? You feel good after eating Krowicka's sandwich, as if you've eaten something with substance. After eating a Fat Darrell, you feel lethargic and tired, almost nauseous for having eaten the whole thing. The Fat Darrell, coming from a Grease Truck, is messy, and tastes like you're just eating a giant French fry in a lot of ways. In the reimagined sandwich, you taste each ingredient. The fresh chicken, crunch from the potatoes and the sweetness of the sauce all work together.

Don't expect to see Krowicka's sandwich on any menus near campus anytime soon. It's not supposed to be something that everyone can rush out to order. Instead, or at least I'd like to think, it goes to show that the food you love can offer more taste, and fewer calories, with a little thought and fresh ingredients.

Nicholas Andre is a senior at Rutgers University, majoring in journalism and media studies, currently working for 90.3 The Core, the only student-run radio station at Rutgers.