With the arrival of fall, a myriad of emotions flood our minds. As we bid farewell to the warmth and freedom of summer, a new season emerges, bringing with it a sense of anticipation and excitement.
For those who possess an unwavering passion for football, this transition marks the beginning of the most enchanting time of the year.
While many individuals revel in the joy of hosting game-day watch parties, the true devotees of the sport embrace a different tradition altogether – tailgating.
Ah, tailgating, a revered ritual that transcends mere spectatorship. It is a celebration of camaraderie, a testament to the undying spirit of fandom.
Yet, amidst the sea of team colors and spirited chants, one aspect of tailgating stands out as a deeply personal matter: the food.
For some, it is an opportunity to showcase their culinary prowess, to orchestrate a symphony of flavors that tantalize the taste buds.
These individuals spare no expense, armed with grills, crock pots, and warming trays, crafting feasts fit for kings.
For others, however, tailgating is a more modest affair, a light pre-game gathering that revolves around take-out burgers and a well-stocked cooler of refreshing beverages.
Regardless of the approach, one thing remains certain – tailgating is an integral part of the football experience, a cherished tradition that unites fans in their shared love for the game.
So, as the autumn breeze carries the echoes of roaring crowds and the aroma of sizzling delicacies, let us come together, revel in the spirit of competition, and embrace the wonders of this enchanting season.
The star of many a tailgate is undoubtedly the submarine sandwich, commonly known as a sub. However, it is worth noting that regional variations in nomenclature exist, and depending on where you find yourself, you might hear it referred to as a grinder, hoagie, hero, po’ boy, spukie, or even an Italian sandwich.
These diverse names reflect the rich cultural tapestry of our nation, where culinary traditions and local dialects intermingle to create a vibrant mosaic of flavors and expressions.
Interestingly, fans of old comic strips might also recognize the submarine sandwich as a Dagwood, paying homage to the iconic character who was known for his towering, multi-layered sandwiches.
Regardless of what you choose to call it, one thing remains certain: the submarine sandwich is a beloved staple of American cuisine, cherished for its versatility, delectable fillings, and ability to satiate even the heartiest of appetites.
Regardless of its name, the subject at hand is an excessively filled sandwich placed between two halves of a roll, consisting of multiple layers of meats, cheese, condiments, and various other ingredients.
Although it may be convenient to acquire this culinary delight from a nearby sandwich establishment, if you desire to provide a special indulgence for your loved ones, why not venture to the local delicatessen, procure an assortment of your preferred fillings, and embark on the journey of crafting your very own masterpiece? (A recipe for the dressing can be found below.)
GATHERING THE INGREDIENTS
Creating an exceptional sub sandwich necessitates only a modest level of culinary expertise. The key lies in the selection of top-quality ingredients and the incorporation of a handful of clever final touches.
When it comes to crafting the quintessential deli-style sub, one typically leans towards an Italian-inspired assortment of meats, cheeses, and other deli essentials.
Within the confines of our household, the preferred meats for a delectable grinder consist of sopresetta, ham, prosciutto, mortadella, and an array of salami variations.
Additionally, turkey and roast beef serve as viable alternatives for those seeking a slightly different flavor profile.
There is an abundance of choices when it comes to cheeses, however, my personal favorite is provolone. What sets provolone apart is its smooth texture and subtle sharpness.
Of course, one cannot overlook other delightful options such as American cheese, cheddar, Swiss, Munster, fontina, and Havarti.
When it comes to assembling a sandwich, it is essential to slice the meats and cheeses thinly but generously pile them high. This is not a moment for restraint; indulgence is key.
Now, let’s talk about the bread. To properly hold all the delectable fillings together, a large and sturdy roll is imperative. Look for rolls specifically labeled as sub rolls, but don’t hesitate to explore Portuguese rolls, hoagie rolls, grinder rolls, hero rolls, or Italian rolls.
In some areas, such as New York, these types of subs are even referred to as wedges, so you might come across rolls labeled as wedge rolls. However, a sandwich is not complete without the perfect add-ons.
Some of my personal favorites include roasted red peppers, whether store-bought or homemade, sliced tomatoes, finely shredded lettuce, pepperoncini, and thinly sliced onion. These additions are an absolute necessity for the ultimate sub experience.
When it comes to enhancing the flavor of your meals, don’t limit yourself to just the traditional jarred condiments. Step out of your comfort zone and explore the vast array of options available.
Consider trying chopped Calabrian peppers for a fiery kick or condiments with chopped olives, such as the classic muffuletta spread or tapenade, for a burst of savory goodness.
Another intriguing choice is Giardiniera, a flavorful mix of pickled vegetables. And don’t be surprised if you stumble upon condiments with names like hoagie spread, which can add a unique twist to your dishes.
Of course, the classics like mayonnaise and mustard are always reliable choices. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not experiment with different variations?
Swap out regular mayo for a spicy alternative like remoulade sauce, chipotle mayo, or sriracha mayo, and watch as your taste buds dance with delight. The possibilities are endless, so go ahead and unleash your culinary creativity!
CUT TO THE CHASE: IT’S THE DRESSING
The essence of a true deli sub lies in the delectable garlicky, oregano-flecked red wine vinaigrette, often referred to as the “juice,” which is generously drizzled over the delectable fillings.
It is this distinctive oil and vinegar dressing that sets apart the finest delis, particularly those of Italian origin, as they each boast their own unique rendition of this delectable concoction.
When combined with an array of other condiments of your choosing, this tantalizing elixir elevates your sandwich to the status of a culinary masterpiece.
For those who have had the pleasure of visiting a Jersey Mike’s, you may have been presented with the option of having this ambrosial juice on your sub, and it is highly recommended that you seize this opportunity without hesitation.
By embracing the addition of this flavorful dressing, your deli sub experience will be elevated to unprecedented heights, leaving an indelible impression on your taste buds.
The subject of subs, much like tailgating, is ultimately a matter of personal preference and, in certain instances, even regional inclination.
What one individual may consider to be the epitome of a perfect grinder, another may dismiss with a disapproving shake of their head.
However, such is the nature of culinary experiences! Just envision the sheer delight of embarking on a cross-country expedition solely dedicated to indulging in an assortment of overstuffed sandwiches, with the sole purpose of discovering the ultimate, flawless sub.
Or perhaps, it is plausible that the notion of an absolutely perfect sub is merely an elusive concept, but the pursuit of such a gastronomic treasure would undoubtedly be an immensely enjoyable endeavor.
When preparing sandwiches for a tailgate, it is crucial to construct them just before departing, as the condiments and “juice” have the potential to render the bread soggy rather swiftly.
Alternatively, assembling the subs on-site is another viable option. In this case, the subs can be made in advance, but the juice should be carried in a separate container and sprinkled onto the hoagies just prior to consumption.
To concoct the delectable “juice” dressing, one must combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon of finely minced garlic, ½ teaspoon of dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
To assemble the sandwiches, gather 2 deli rolls and layer them with shredded romaine lettuce, thinly sliced ham, sliced salami, thinly sliced prosciutto, sliced provolone, sliced mortadella, mayonnaise, spicy brown mustard, roasted red peppers (store-bought or homemade), sliced tomatoes, pepperoncini, and thinly sliced onion.
To prepare the dressing, begin by combining the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a small container.
Mix these ingredients thoroughly to ensure a well-balanced flavor. Next, take the shredded lettuce and place it in a small bowl.
Drizzle half of the dressing over the lettuce and toss it gently to ensure an even distribution. It is important to reserve the remaining dressing for later use.
Now, it’s time to start assembling the sandwich! The beauty of this process lies in your creativity and personal preferences.
You have the freedom to layer the meats, cheese, vegetables, and condiments in any order you desire. Allow your taste buds to guide you as you create a harmonious blend of flavors.
Remember to save some of the dressing to drizzle over the top of your sandwich filling just before placing the top half of the roll on. This final touch will add an extra burst of flavor and moisture to your creation.
Finally, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Open your mouth wide, take a bite, and savor the delicious combination of ingredients.
The contrasting textures and flavors will dance on your palate, leaving you satisfied and content. Whether you’re enjoying this sandwich alone or in the company of others, this culinary masterpiece is sure to impress.
So go ahead, indulge in this delightful creation and relish every moment of this culinary experience.