Salute to the Sandwich You're my 'hero'

Andy Mueller

andy mueller | in the kitchen with chef andy | july 2017

Although gambling can be hazardous to your health and well being if not taken in moderation, thank goodness John Montague didn't know when to quit, or we'd be stepping on cold cuts all day long. Who is he? Only the greatest contributor to the concept of lunch the world has ever known. Mr. Montague, better known as the Earl of Sandwich, was an 18th century English diplomat and avid card player who invented the sandwich. Like many great inventions, the sandwich came about without intention. As the story goes, John Montague had such a passion for poker, he would not stop once the cards were on the table, not even when his appetite loomed large. The solution to his dilemma came when realizing he couldn't play cards because he was encumbered by a plate of food that required various utensils to eat. Calling for a piece of meat to be placed between two slices of bread, he could now eat and play at the same time, and the sandwich was born.

Call it a grinder out in Philly, a Po' boy in New Orleans, a wrap out west or a hoagie, hero or sub in all points in between, the sandwich is the quintessential culinary creation that has stood the test of time and carved a permanent place in cafeterias and lunch rooms around the globe.

The world-wide appeal of the sandwich must come from the simple fact that they are straightforward and easy to make, yet encompass all that is good and satisfying. In the culinary world, many times it's things that are so simple, that become so great. Take an enigmatic icon of the food world like the late Julia Child. A woman whose culinary prowess is unmatched by anyone, and has cooked for world leaders, celebrities and diplomats, states when asked what her favorite food is, simply replies "sliced fresh tomatoes on white bread with mayonnaise." A true testimony to the "KISS" theory that proves apropos in the culinary world as it translates to "Keep It Simple Stupid." Some of the greatest culinary inventions are those that have few ingredients.

On the other end of the spectrum is the chance to look at two slices of bread the same way an artist looks at a canvas. A masterpiece is waiting to be created, and all the cold cuts and condiments become the paint in which to bring out the artist within.

You Are My Hero

A classic sandwich with a little "outside the box" approach. Best on a baguette, any long sub bread will work.

For the dressing:

In a food processor add:

1/2 small red onion, chopped

1 small can diced green chilies

1 small red bell pepper, seeded, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic

1/4 c. pimento stuffed green olives

1/4 cup sliced black olives

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 cup canola oil

fresh ground pepper to taste

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Pulse ingredients to finely dice, but do not puree until smooth. Ingredients should still have texture and crunch.

Slice a long baguette in half lengthwise. Line both halves with thinly sliced Genoa salami, then top with thinly-sliced Swiss cheese on one half, and cheddar on the other. Cover both halves with enough dressing to cover the cheeses and salami. Top the bottom half of the hero with shaved smoked turkey, pit ham and deli bologna. Top with shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and sweet onion. Place top half of hero on top, wrap tight in plastic wrap, then let rest for one hour to let the flavors marry. After one hour, unwrap, place long frill picks into the sandwich every two inches, then slice between the frill picks to create two-inch sandwiches that you can plate and pass around.

Chef Andy Mueller is a well-seasoned Chef with over 30 years in the restaurant business. He's been on Food Network with Guy Fieri, was Reggie White's personal chef during their Super Bowl run in 1996 and has been Executive Chef at Zimani's in the late '80s, the original Executive Chef at Black & Tan Grille the first four years of operation and owned restaurants in Door County including Glidden Lodge restaurant north of Sturgeon Bay and Hillside Restaurant in Ellison Bay. He currently owns the massively popular supper club "Galley 57" in Allouez at 2222 Riverside Dr.

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