Recently, I had the pleasure and honor of having Dr. Andrew Weil “stop by my kitchen” for a chat. He mentioned one of his favorite foods growing up in Philadelphia was a hoagie. A HOAGIE! I love hoagies! I think it’s a Pennsylvania thing. Sure, around the country they are now called “Subs,” or submarine sandwiches, thanks to Subway. In New England they call similar sandwiches “grinders,” which aren’t hoagies at all, and are usually served hot. (Eww!) According to Wikipedia (not a legitimate source, I know!), there are more than 15 different names for this sandwich, and multiple theories as to how it got its name. The main thing is, the sandwich did originate in Pennsylvania (probably Philadelphia), and it is awesome to eat!
So, what’s a Pennsylvania girl to do? All the hoagies around here are made on squishy white bread, with toxic-chemical mystery meats (by the way, for the most delicious one of those around here, you have to go to Wally’s Deli). So I have learned to make my own at home for my kids, who are very grateful for my efforts, and for me. Turns out, it is very easy.
Basic Healthy Hoagie
1 soft 100% whole wheat or whole grain bun
1 or more slices organic ham
1 or more slices organic provolone or American cheese
2 or more slices organic hard salami
Organic iceberg lettuce (finely chopped)
Thinly sliced purple onion
Thinly sliced tomato
Pinch of oregano
Dash of salt
Red wine vinegar
Directions: Assemble the sandwich, starting with the cold cuts and cheese, then the toppings, then the seasonings and dressing.
The bread: A typical hoagie roll is a long, submarine-shaped soft baguette. The main thing to making a hoagie healthy is to use 100% whole wheat or whole grain rolls (just plain bread doesn’t hold the dressing well enough). I often use whole wheat round sandwich buns, which are easier to find.
The meats: I prefer Applegate Farms organic sandwich meats. This is one situation in which home-cooked meats just don’t have the same flavor, oddly enough. You can do all sorts of variations, depending on what you can find. Substitute smoked turkey for ham. Add different types of sandwich meats. But if you ask me, the salami is fairly essential. Applegate Farms makes a good one that is not exactly organic, but is close enough.
The lettuce: Finely chopped is best, with the tomato and onion sliced thin. (This is not a sandwich you want to eat, and then immediately afterwards have a make-out session!) Earthbound Farms makes a great organic iceberg lettuce.
Oregano? An essential ingredient! It’s not a hoagie without it.
Salt? Yes. A dash of salt makes a big difference. Trust me.
Dressing: 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil; emulsify, and add to the lettuce on top of the sandwich (not to the bread because it makes it too soggy).
Other approved ingredients for variations include: pickled hot peppers, pickles, roasted peppers, roasted hot peppers (yum!). Vegetarians can just make a cheese hoagie.