Italian Hero Sandwich
Italian hero, sub, hoagie, grinder — this classic sandwich has many names, and every deli makes it differently. Its deliciousness lies in the proportion of rich-and-fatty ingredients to spicy-and-crunchy ones. For optimal structure and texture, start with crusty rolls with pillowy insides (or toast soft rolls). Use two to four types of cured meat for a range of umami, and plenty of lettuce and pickles to counterbalance them. Then assemble wisely: Shingle the meat and cheese across the rolls, then top with pickles, onions and dressed lettuce. Once put together, the wet ingredients are wrapped in meat so they’re held in place and the bread doesn’t get soggy. Wrap with parchment or wax paper for tidier eating and transporting.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 ½tablespoons dried oregano
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 4(6- to 8-inch-long) sub, hero or hoagie rolls, split lengthwise but attached on one side
- Mustard and/or mayonnaise (optional)
- 4ounces sliced provolone and/or low-moisture mozzarella cheese
- 1pound thinly sliced Italian cured meats, such as salami, prosciutto, mortadella, coppa and/or soppressata
- 1cup sliced pickled peppers, such as pepperoncini, banana peppers, giardiniera and/or jalapeños
- 1small head iceberg lettuce (about 1 pound), thinly sliced
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Step 1Rinse the red onion under cold water, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, dried oregano and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine, and set aside.
Step 2Arrange the rolls cut side up so they lie flat. Spread with a thin layer of mustard and/or mayonnaise, if using. Shingle the entire surface with the cheese, then the cured meats. Scatter an even layer of pickled peppers.
Step 3Add the iceberg lettuce and olive oil to the onion-oregano mixture and toss until well-coated. Season to taste with salt. Pile the lettuce on one side of the sandwich, then close the sandwich and press down lightly. If packing, wrap the sandwich tightly in parchment paper or foil, then cut in half crosswise. Sandwiches will keep for up to 4 hours refrigerated.