Tag: Sandwich (page 2 of 3)

Hot Salami At Gioia’s Deli

Head cheese on The Hill.

On my recent day off, I decided to search for another “only in St. Louis” specialty for lunch. My last quest brought me to Mai Lee for a St. Paul sandwich. Having lived in St. Louis now for almost six months, I was overdue for an Italian sandwich on The Hill, our city’s historic Italian community. There are many Italian delis here. Everyone seems to have their favorite sandwich along with their their favorite St. Paul Sandwich and frozen custard and gooey butter cake. I suppose it’s similar to asking a Minneapolis-St. Paul resident for advice about where to find their favorite Jucy Lucy about which I’ve gotten into online brawls.

This quest started at Gioia’s Deli (pronounced joy-a). According to Gioia’s website, they’re the “oldest family owned business on The Hill and have been serving hot salami (Salam de Testa) since 1918. Their deli is even built from wood and brick leftover from the 1904 World’s Fair. On Gioia’s website you’ll find a regular menu and secret menu with extra deluxe combinations involving meats and garlic cheese bread. Hot salami is a big deal here. The deli makes this meat specialty daily from pig head parts like noses and snouts, and serves slices warm on sandwiches. Hence, the hot salami gets its name from its temperature, not spiciness. You can watch Andrew Zimmern catch some of the sausage-making process on this Bizarre Foods episode.

Gioia’s was packed when I arrived for an early take-out lunch. Everyone seemed to know exactly what they wanted and how they wanted it. The employees were friendly and directed me through the process of ordering, waiting for the sandwich to be prepared, adding condiments, and heading to the cash register. I chose the Spicy Daggett filled with hot salami, coppa, capicola, cheese (I chose mozzarella), and giardiniera and served on toasted garlic-pepper cheese bread ($8.25).

As a “healthier” counterbalance, I also ordered the Iron Man made with a hollowed-out baguette, turkey, all of the vegetables, and spicy mustard.

The hot salami sandwich was our favorite. The meat was thickly-cut, unctuous, and tender. Nothing like the salami lunch meat circles of my childhood. The coppa and capicola added a slight kick and the chunky pickled peppers cut through the richness. Layered between toasted Italian bread with the perfect softness and chew, this was pretty much the perfect sandwich.

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The Iron Man turkey sandwich tasted healthy. . . it’s hard to follow hot salami. I certainly wouldn’t want to. Both sandwiches provided us each with lunch for the next day, or, in my case, breakfast.

In conclusion, the Hot Daggett was a hit that I’d return for soon. I’ve never tasted anything like it living in MN, ND and IA. Next time, I’ll take advantage of their “Word of the Week” offer where the deli emails a secret word each week for $1-off a sandwich. After I posted a photo of Gioia’s hot salami sandwich, folks chimed in to say Gioia’s makes their favorite version. Other sandwich suggestions included the hot salami from Adam’s Smokehouse and the Amighatti’s Special from Amighatti’s.

Tell me about your favorite Italian Sandwich. Have you encountered Hot Salami before? Who makes your favorite sandwich on The Hill?

The St. Paul Sandwich

We’re working our way through our St. Louis-specific food traditions list. This week, I took a poll to decide my next lunch. Imo’s St. Louis-style pizza in all of its Provel glory or a St. Paul Sandwich?

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The St. Paul Sandwich won.

This combination of white bread, an Egg Foo Young patty, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo supposedly originated with a man named Steven Yuen who named it after his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. Ironically, this isn’t popular in St. Paul, Minnesota like it is here in St. Louis, despite its name. Jennifer Lee’s Fortune Cookie Chronicles blog post goes on to explain how the St. Paul Sandwich is typically an inexpensive treat available at many local Chinese American restaurants.

Egg Foo Young isn’t one of my favorite dishes, but every once in a while I’ll get a craving. Jake has very few food aversions, but Egg Foo Young is at the top of his short list.

I headed to one of our favorite restaurants Mai Lee for my first one. There’s nothing we haven’t enjoyed here so I guessed it would be a safe bet. At Mai Lee, St. Paul Sandwiches cost around $5-7. Before choosing Mai Lee, I did a little bit of internet research and many people said theirs was a particularly delicious version. I chose the shrimp St. Paul Sandwich.

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While filming a short video, I took my first bite and enjoyed the variety of flavors and textures. The soft white bread contrasted with the crispy egg patty, and tangy mayo, pickles, and onion balanced the fried richness. I really liked the pieces of plump, springy shrimp. All of a sudden the sandwich was nearly gone and I realized I had forgotten to take more photos. Jake couldn’t get into the sandwich, which was just as well. I snatched it back from him and ate the rest.

One local reader suggested that I order extra pickles. I like this idea and so next time I will.

Do you have any thoughts on St. Paul Sandwiches? Who makes your favorite version?

A Sandwich Made With Apples Soaked In Maple Syrup

I just learned about the most lovely sandwich made with apples soaked in maple syrup.

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In her memoir The Mud Season, author Ellen Stimson shares her family’s experience selling their St. Louis, MO business and moving to a small town in Vermont because it was pretty. They buy an old country general store and have misadvanture after misadventure with livestock, weather, and quarrels with local residents. In one chapter, Stimson discusses how her banker had to inform her people had stopped shopping at her store because she moved the bread to a different shelf, and, in another, the challenges of adopting orphaned lambs.

Although I can’t relate to running a rural general store in Vermont, I can relate to Stimson trying to fit into a new community. I love this piece of advice a neighbor gave her:

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What captivated my attention the most was her description of a toasted sandwich layered with meat, Vermont cheddar, and maple syrup-soaked apple slices. The book is back at the library now and I can’t quite recall her exact recipe. I do remember Stimson recommending that one should try to soak the apple slices in maple syrup for at least two hours and describing how Vermonters prefer Grade B maple syrup because it has more flavor. I never find grade B maple syrup at the stores, but would love to try some.

This sandwich is so wonderful because of all of the contrasting flavors and textures; the mapley sweetness and crunch of the apples, melted cheddar, and salty ham. It’s like the best grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

Here’s how I recreated it at home:

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Ingredients:
Bread
Sharp white cheddar
Apples soaked in maple syrup
Ham
Butter

Instructions:

  1. In a small container, soak thin slices of apple in maple syrup.
  2. To assemble the sandwich, layer sliced ham, apples, and sharp white cheddar.
  3. Toast sandwich in butter until the cheese melts and the bread turns golden brown.
  4. Slice and serve.

Quick Glazed, Baked Ham & Cheese Buns (a.k.a. Funeral Sandwiches)

funeral sandwiches

On our first trip down to St. Louis, I packed little, glazed ham and cheese sandwiches for the road.

I’d never heard of funeral sandwiches or this type of small, glazed sandwich until I saw them appear in my social media feeds this year. When I posted a photo of my second batch, friends and readers commented that they make them often and see them at social gatherings. Jake and I shook our head and wondered how we’d never encountered these sandwiches before. As far as I can gather, the name “funeral sandwiches,” refers to the fact that they are often served at funerals.

Most funeral sandwich recipes consist of Hawaiian buns that are filled with ham and swiss, drizzled with a marinade of butter, Worcestershire, mustard, brown sugar, and onion powder, and baked. Some recipes call for a sprinkle of poppy seeds and many suggest you marinade the sandwiches anywhere from overnight to a few hours before baking. My version is quick. Simply drizzle and bake.

The sandwiches taste best fresh out of the oven, but we don’t mind eating them cold, too. The glaze makes the outside of the sandwiches sticky, so pack some napkins if you take them on a road trip or picnic. 

Little, Glazed Road Trip Sandwiches
I found Hawaiian rolls on sale, but use whatever small bun you’d like. The same goes for your meat and cheese filling. Most recipes call for ham and swiss. I used whatever cheese was already in my fridge. We liked the “Hawaiian” ham I found at Target’s deli counter. Not sure what makes it Hawaiian, except it tastes a little bit sweeter. We also made these sandwiches with sliced chicken. Go nuts!

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Ingredients:
1 pack Hawaiian rolls
Sliced ham
Sliced cheese
1/4 cup butter (or a little less)
2 good squirts of Dijon mustard (ALDI sells a nice, punchy one).
2 good squirts of honey
Worcestershire sauce, several good dashes
1-2 tablespoons grated onion
Ground black pepper
Dash of salt

Instructions:

  1. Slice rolls and fill with sliced ham and cheese.
  2. Place rolls in a lightly greased pan or baking dish or line with foil or parchment.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, mustard, Dijon, honey, Worcestershire, grated onion, black pepper, and salt. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  4. Drizzle the sauce over the rolls.
  5. Bake at 350°F or until the sauce absorbs into the buns and the tops are golden brown. This should take about 20 minutes.

Grilled Korean Chicken Sandwiches For Two

White meat or dark meat?

Jake and I differ in our preferences. While Jake is far from a picky eater, he prefers boneless skinless chicken breast while I prefer the drumsticks and thighs. I often find boneless skinless chicken breasts inedibly dry unless they are heavily marinated or fried.

One evening, Jake asked me if I could make a Korean version of a blackened chicken sandwich with the gochojang I brought back from United Noodles in Minneapolis, MN. Gochujang is a fermented chili-soybean paste that’s frequently used in Korean cooking. It’s widely available in most Asian grocery stores.

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This spicy chili paste is intensely flavored and adds a Korean flavor to any dish. I’ve used spoonfuls of gochujang to season fried rice, ramen noodles, beans & rice, and short ribs. I am dreaming of more gochujang possibilities like chicken wings or a spicy gochujang-mayo. Maybe gochujang will become the next Sriracha.

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The marinated chicken in our sandwiches tasted more like a Korean twist on teriyaki than anything blackened, but dinner a success. I soaked the chicken in the marinade for four hours. This process helped it remain juicy and flavorful after we cooked it on our little Foreman grill.

Korean Chicken Sandwich

Garnish your grilled chicken sandwiches with lettuce, tomato and red onion and a little mayonnaise. This combination may sound a little strange, but will hit all of your favorite sweet, savory, and spicy notes.

Ingredients:
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (our pack contained three)
Soy sauce, enough to coat the chicken breasts
Brown sugar or honey, a little less than the amount of soy sauce used
Sesame oil, a small drizzle
1 clove grated garlic
Grated ginger with the juice, about a teaspoon
Black pepper
Gouchujang paste, about one tablespoon
Garnishes: Lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise

Instructions:

  1. Place the chicken breasts in a ziplock bag.
  2. Add the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, black pepper, and gochujang.
  3. Squish the bag together so that the marinade combine and coats the chicken. You can also whisk the marinade in a bowl first and then marinate the chicken in a container. Allow the chicken to marinate for several hours or a day.
  4. Grill the chicken breasts and create a sandwich with your favorite garnishes.
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