In New York it’s called a hero, or a sub. In Philly, it’s a hoagie. Unfortunately, to be honest, this time I have to defer to Philadelphia. New York really just can’t make a sandwich like Philly can. And trust me, I’ve looked long and hard and tried my best to prove Jon wrong on this one. But it’s just a fact – Philly knows how to make a good sandwich.
Recently Jon and I were in Philly and had Primo’s Hoagies for lunch. All they really do is put meat and cheese on a roll with tomatoes, lettuce and onions. But in Philadelphia, this sandwich is so much more than the sum of its parts.
The classic Italian hoagie from Primo’s has several components that make it good. Like many an Italian sandwich, the Italian Diablo at Primo’s has hot sopressata, hot cappacola, sharp provolone, lettuce and tomatoes. It also has a special blend of unrevealed spices (we’ve identified oregano, parsley, hot pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper). Then there’s the best item in the sandwich – a ¼ inch thick by 9 inch long slice of provolone cheese that runs the length of the sandwich and gives it a bite and a depth of flavor no other ingredient does.
To create a bite that encapsulates the heart of this sandwich, we wanted to concentrate the flavors in a huge way. We shopped at our favorite Italian deli spot, Russo’s where they make their own mozzarella, fresh pasta and fresh bread. To emphasize the richness of an amazing Italian hoagie’s spicy meats and cheeses in one single bite, we baked the salami, sopressata and cappacola until the meats crisped into crunchy chips. We also made a fresh herb aioli with parsley, oregano and hot peppers that reminded us of the flavors of Primo’s Italian Diablo. The crispy meat chips and the spicy, herbed aioli tasted like the quintessential Primo’s, in one mouthful.
(Makes 20 bites)
For the Chips:
¼ lb thinly sliced Genoa salami
¼ lb thinly sliced hot cappacola
¼ lb thinly sliced hot sopressata
¼ lb mixed grated parmesan and pecorino romano cheese
For the Aioli:
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
Splash of lemon juice
1 Thai chili, diced
2 tsp oregano, chopped
2 tsp parsley, chopped
2 tsp garlic, made into a paste
Salt and pepper
- Lay the sliced meat out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake at 300° for 10 minutes, until the slices have crisped up.
- In the meantime, make the aioli. Whisk together the egg yolk, lemon juice and Dijon, then slowly whisk in the oil.
- When the aioli is thick and emulsified, add the Thai chili, garlic paste, fresh herbs and seasoning. Refrigerate until needed.
- To make the provolone chips, arrange the grated cheeses in a circle cutter on a piece of parchment. Remove the circle cutter and bake at 250° until the cheese has melted together and browned.
- To assemble, layer meat chips with aioli and top with provolone chip. Garnish with oregano and serve.
© 2011 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle