Friday, September 7, 2007

Homegrown Gourmet: SANDWICHES!

This is a new challenge I am participating called Hometown Gourmet. For the rules, click the link.

The general idea is that the host picks a type of dish and then everyone makes a version of that dish that somehow represents their area. This first dish is the SANDWICH.

I ended up making two. One is my take on a Pittsburgh tradition: the Primanti's Sandwich.

Primanti Brothers Restaurant, founded in 1934, is a chain of sandwich shops found throughout Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and its suburbs, with an additional two locations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its signature items are its sandwiches, which consists of grilled meat, a vinegar-based cole slaw, tomato slices, and French fries between two pieces of Italian bread.[1]

The sandwich is said to have its origins in the city's steel days when blue collar workers needed a hot meal mid-shift that would keep them full all day long. However, the workers had neither the time nor the utensils for such a meal. By combining the sides with the sandwich, a Pittsburgh staple was born. Of course, the restaurant offers a slightly humorous take on it, offering the explanation that the Primanti brothers simply forgot the plates and forks one day. According to the restaurant, Joe Primanti invented the sandwich during the Great Depression. His brothers, Dick and Stanley, later joined him along with John DePriter who was the cook. The Primantis opened their hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Smallman Street in the Strip District of Pittsburgh and served the late-night and early-morning workers who were unloading fish, fruits and vegetables.[2]
The restaurant has evolved to become a casual neighborhood restaurant with 13 Pittsburgh locations, including those found in PNC Park and Heinz Field. There are also two locations in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.[3]
The restaurant was featured in an article in the August 2003 edition of National Geographic Magazine.[4]

I decided to make this because, though I am not from Pittburgh, my husband is from the area and we both went to college and grad school there. And it seemed like a perfect fit for this challenge! The sandwiches at the restaurant while good are not the best for you. They are greasy, with white bread and fries. I decided to make a healthier version.

I made mine with whole wheat bread, pork, homemade cole slaw, and sweet potato fries (simply tossed with olive oil and kosher salt and baked at 450 until done - about 15 minutes, turning once). Pepperjack cheese for Ryan and cheddar for me. They were really great! Yummy enough that we may just ahve them again sometime!

I needed to represent MY roots too though. After some brainstorming with my husband, I came up with the:

Whalers Melt

Ryan jokingly said something about making a whalers sandwich when I told him that the foods we chose could represent a local team colors. Well. 10 years ago, the Hartford Whalers hockey team left CT to go to NC (hockey in NORTH CAROLINA?!?! puh-lease). They have been sorely missed by many here, and we are left with no pro teams.

So, my entry for a Connecticut / New England Sandwich consists of:

Anadama Bread: According to Wikipedia: Anadama bread is a traditional bread of New England made with white flour, cornmeal, molasses and sometimes rye flour. There are several popular myths about the origin of the name, which mostly take this form:"A fisherman, angry with his wife, Anna, for serving him nothing but cornmeal and molasses, one day adds flour and yeast to his porridge and eats the resultant bread, while cursing, 'Anna, damn her.'"

This Anadama recipe also included Nutmeg (since we CT natives are called "nutmeggers")
For fun, the story of nutmeg and CT: Connecticut gets its nickname ("the Nutmeg State", "Nutmegger") from the legend that some unscrupulous Connecticut traders would whittle "nutmeg" out of wood, creating a "wooden nutmeg" (a term which came to mean any fraud)

I put a slice of bread on a buttered skillet with thin slices of apples which came from my local farm, Rosedales. many many apples are grown on orchards here in CT. I topped that with cheddar cheese (the best cheddar is from Vermont) and let the cheese melt a little while the bread toasted. I topped that with:

Tuna made with chopped dried cranberries (cranberries are famously grown in Mass) and miracle whip

The some slices of local Rosedales tomatos, and a second slice of bread.

The end result, my Whalers Melt, was really good! The cranberries were a nice alternative to the usual relish in tuna.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Haha I am planning on making a Primanti's sandwich for this too!