My husband is a connoisseur of sandwiches. He loves wraps with veggies, baloney and cheese with his secret mustard-hummus tang sauce, clubs, melts and subs of all variety. But his favorite is the Italian sub, which he calls “the holy grail of sandwiches.”
Unfortunately for him, we now live in New Jersey. Despite the state’s reputation as a hot spot for guidos and guidettes (insert snide Jersey Shore reference here), you can’t get a real Italian sub anywhere.
For those who don’t know, here’s how you make one:
Take a roll of light Italian bread, slice it in half, put a little olive oil on it, maybe a little vinegar. Add the “holy trinity of cold cuts” — mortadella, capicolla, and Genoa salami. Layer on provalone and some veggies, preferably sliced white onions, diced pickles, and shredded iceberg. Finish up with a little oil and vinegar, and some optional hot peppers, and toast that puppy up.
According to my husband, “what you get is alchemy, ok? You no longer have a mix of several ingredients, what you have is the best sandwich ever. The flavors do not act in concert where you have violinist over here and the viola over here. What you have is one instrument, playing the most delicious melody of all time.”
So what’s the problem with New Jersey? “The New Jersey Italians are just not aware of mortadella. they apparently forgot that mortadella exists, although it’s one of the most important cured pork products of Italy. And it’s also one of the ones that makes it across the Atlantic intact.”
“I’ve looked for this sandwich across central new Jersey. Any pizza place that I’ve been to, I always look for an Italian sub, and you just don’t find that. They don’t have mortadella, mortadella is missing. And it’s not just the Massachusetts people that like this sandwich. You can get it in New York. In New Orleans they have a related sandwhich called a muffaletta, where instead of vegetables they have a olive tapenade. It’s basically the same sandwich. It’s the best sandwich ever. I’m telling you.”
So what’s up with the mortadella moratorium, New Jersey?