To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the sandwiches, combine sauerkraut, carrot, and ¼ cup dressing in a medium bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Season fish with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Transfer fish to grill and cook, turning once, until cooked through, 12–17 minutes depending on thickness of fish. You'll know it's done when juices start to surface and fish flakes easily when pierced with a knife. Add bread to grill and toast on one side.
To assemble sandwiches, spread dressing on non-grilled side of each piece of bread. Top with fish, sauerkraut mixture, cheese, and top with remaining slices bread. Transfer to grill and cover to quickly melt cheese. Serve immediately.
About this recipe
*A Sandwich for Dad from the Naked South*
The first grouper reuben I ever tried was at a small, homey-type restaurant called Dominick’s in Ft. Pierce, a favorite place for my grandpa to take me when I’d come home for a visit. The fish was crispy fried, the bread was buttery, it was dripping with Russian dressing, and came topped with a mound of coleslaw. It was one of the best sandwiches I’d ever had. That was in the early 2000s. For many years after that I started custom-ordering it at restaurants that had the components on the menu, but not the actual grouper (or mahi would do) reuben.
Eventually I started seeing the sandwich on most Florida-style menus with minor variations: coleslaw or sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing or Russian, fried fish or blackened. I’m not sure who’s responsible for the original masterpiece (I’ve heard it’s Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa) but I’ve gone and made my own version. Turns out, when done at home, this flavor bomb of a sandwich can be just as nutritious as it is tasty.
Raw sauerkraut is one of the healthiest foods you can put into your stomach. Fermented foods are well-documented as being probiotic powerhouses. The healthy bacteria improves your immune system (90% of your immune function is located in your gut), improves digestion, and helps produce serotonin, making you happier too. Why raw and not canned? The high heat of the canning process may destroy a lot of the probiotics as well as other vital nutrients, so seek out raw when possible. Try Beagle Bay, Sarasota’s own organic, raw sauerkraut available at Whole Foods and Earth Origins. Adding fermented foods to your daily diet is probably the single most important thing you can do for your health.
Rye is a nutrient-dense grain with many health benefits, including regulating blood sugar, helping with weight loss, and reducing breast cancer risk. It does contain gluten, however, so if you’re avoiding gluten, this is not a grain for you. A quality rye bread is typically a mix of rye and wheat flour with caraway seeds. Most grocery store varieties use very little rye and add sugar, making it a not-so-smart choice. To keep rye bread a healthy choice, seek out a local baker who sticks with traditional methods, such as Bavarian Bread Co. in Sarasota.