Naturally, since this year’s Super Bowl is all about an empire state of mind, a special Taste of NY section features local food stars, like James Briscione, a champion on the Food Network’s Chopped and director of culinary development at The Institute of Culinary Education, cooking up football-friendly fare. Briscione developed the dish showcased at the event, a twist on the classic reuben sandwich with duck pastrami (cured, spice crusted and slow smoked), cheddar, rye, apples and whiskey-mustard, “as a way highlight all the great regional product we have here in NY,” he tells PEOPLE. Delicious duck from Hudson Valley, New York State cheddar, whiskey made just outside the city, and yummy apples from upstate all celebrate the area’s fresh offerings. “But then of course I have to look at everything through the lens of the boy that grew up down South, hence a kick of Tabasco,” the Pensacola, Fla. native adds.
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For a savory Super Bowl snack, Briscione shares a similarly “I love New York” themed grilled cheese recipe that’s easy to make (you won’t have to ferment your own ‘kraut for two weeks, like he’s planning!). “We really felt like the apples, ‘kraut and bacon captured the spirit of the dish but was something that the average cook could whip at home whether they were in New York or Nebraska,” Briscione says. “And who doesn’t love an excuse to make a bacon sandwich?” 1. Crisp the bacon slices in a large sauté pan. Set the bacon aside on paper towels to drain. Pour off all but approximately 1 tbsp. of the bacon fat. Add the sauerkraut to the pan and sauté briefly in the bacon fat. Drain the sauerkraut on the paper towels with the bacon.