Well that was an unexpected absence. The past four months since I last posted have gone by in an absolute blur and I have absolutely nothing to show for it, besides my muffin top.
Stress eating is a hell of a thing.
I used to work in the deli department of a small grocery store in the Pocono Mountains. For those of you not familiar with the Poconos (And there’s like ten of you that read this blog regularly, I know you’re familiar with the Poconos. This is for the OTHER ten people that might stumble upon my ramblings and need a little back story, I’m saying.), there is a large population of people that have transplanted from New Jersey and New York to the area over the past 30 years or so and have made it their home.
With New Yorkers and New Jersians (Jersey-ites?) come New York and New Jersey foods. Excellent pizza, Italian bakeries, bagels, and delis are all over Monroe County, and the deli I worked in was…
Eh, it was alright. It was cramped and the floor was sticky sometimes and it was a revolving door of college-aged losers (OH HAYYYYYYY) that were too young to go to the bars every night but needed money for the movies and Chinese food. We made awesome homemade salads and gigantic sandwiches and sold good cold cuts. I mean the really good ones.
I blame this job for my deli and sandwich snobbery and that pesky 50 lb weight gain after high school. (Hey, it had to come from somewhere, y’all.) To this day, I refuse to buy cold cuts from certain stores, and am very particular about the Italian subs I order.
The subs we made back in that deli were great – meat, cheese, and veggies stuffed to almost bursting on soft, chewy Italian rolls delivered to us every morning. Our Italian subs were my personal favorite – black pepper-coated ham, spicy Capicola ham (or Gabbagool, as my regulars would call it), hard salami, and sharp provolone cheese. I always preferred mine with lettuce, tomato, a couple hot peppers, and lots of oil and vinegar. Oh, dudes. You think Wawa‘s Italian subs are good? PFFT. Wawa ain’t got nothing on these. (But FYI Primo‘s Sharp Italians are pretty close.)
Unfortunately, the store I used to work in burned down a few years back and was never rebuilt. So you may never know the delight that is a Hilltop Market Italian sub made by yours truly. But you can have this salad, which might be a close second.
Gather your ingredients:
Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red onion, pepper ham, hard salami, capicola ham, provolone cheese, sandwich pepperoni, and jarred hot pepperoncini peppers. For the dressing, a little mayo, white vinegar, salt, pepper, and a mess of grated parmesan cheese.
First, the dressing.
Mayo, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add grated parmesan. Whisk violently.
Okay, maybe not violently. Set aside.
Chop up romaine, slice cherry tomatoes in half, slice onion thinly. Add to large bowl.
Prepare the cold cuts by layering the pepper ham, capicola, salami, provolone, and pepperoni on top of each other. Roll the entire thing like a log, and slice.
Avengers salad: Place sliced rolled cold cuts on the lettuce mixture, and add sliced pepperoncinis. (Or don’t, if you don’t like delicious hot things. No judgement.)
Drizzle with creamy parmesan dressing. Serve.
You can add or subtract any cold cut you desire, use different dressing, add some good crunchy/chewy croutons, etc. It’s kind of hard to mess up a salad, no? Unless you use bad cold cuts. Then I don’t know you.
“Italian Sub” Salad with Creamy Parmesan Dressing
- 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly
- Sliced black pepper ham
- Sliced spicy capicola ham
- Sliced hard salami
- Sliced pepperoni (look for sandwich or “slicing” pepperoni, not the small slices for pizza
- Jarred hot pepperoncini peppers
Toss lettuce, tomato, and onion in a large bowl. Stack sliced cold cuts and cheese. Roll into a log and slice. Top salad with rolled cold cuts and pepperoncinis. Top with dressing and serve.
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2-3 Tb white vinegar
- 1/4 cup grated parmiggiano-reggiano cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper.
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl and pour over salad (use more or less vinegar to get desired consistency).
This is so easy and delicious it almost feels wrong.