Culinary Sleuth

Hoagies and Subs
Man Sized Meals on a Roll

by Lynn Kerrigan


In the Philadelphia area they're called hoagies which may have come from the non-existent word, hoggies meaning a hog of a sandwich. In Norristown, a small town twenty miles outside of Philadelphia, they're called Zeps. I do not know the origin of the word Zep. Sounds like a man's nickname to me. If you put a hoagie in the oven to warm, it's transformed into a Grinder. Po' Boys, Wedges, Dagwoods, Heroes, or Submarines—whatever you call this man-sized, full of everything sandwich, you'll never call it slim.


New York Delis

The hoagie's origins may have started with the deli sandwich that coincided with the opening of delicatessens. More than 100 years ago, Eastern European immigrants opened the first "deli" to provide other incoming immigrants with foods they loved from the old country including hearty dark breads, smoked meats and fish, spicy mustards, pickles and other delicacies. The first American delis were opened in the 1880's and 1890's. Native Americans soon flocked to the incredible New York delis (known as the deli capital of the world) like The Carnegie Delicatessen and Restaurant, Katz's Delicatessen, Barney Greengrass, Stage Delicatessen and Restaurant and Kaplan's at the Delmonico. These celebrated establishments offered a wide array of foods, but were best known for their fabulous overstuffed sandwiches.

I learned to make assembly line hoagies as a volunteer for the annual Hoagie sale fund raiser benefiting the high school baseball team. Here's how we did it:


Tips For Great Deli Sandwiches

Nothing is more important than the meat. Buy the best you can find. Homemade corned beef, pastrami, brisket, roast beef, roast turkey, salami, smoked white fish and smoked Nova Scotia salmon are all good choices. Have it sliced thinly.

Ditto the cheese. Experiment with different types.

Buy the best bread. It can be French bread, Italian bread, American hoagie rolls—just be sure it's fresh and crusty.

If you can, make your sandwiches with home grown tomatoes.

Great deli sandwiches needn't be slathered in sauces. A dab of mustard, mayonnaise or vinegar and oil helps blend all the flavors together.



Seafood Subs

Prepare salsa. Drain salsa, reserving liquid. Stir liquid into mayonnaise until smooth. Spread rolls with mayonnaise mixture and line with lettuce leaves. Divide seafood and black beans evenly among rolls. Top each sandwich with cucumber salsa and feta cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Cucumber Salsa

Combine all ingredients in a small non-metallic bowl; cover and chill at least 30 minutes.

Flour Tortilla Mini Hoagie Appetizers

Spray flour tortillas with olive oil or flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle with herbs, cheese and sliced sandwich meat of your choice. Top with thinly sliced tomato, if desired. Cut into 6-8 pieces. Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 5-6 minutes.

Wow-Wow Oven Grinder Sauce

Melt butter in small pan. Stir in flour. Cook briefly. Add vinegar, Worcestershire & mustard. Cover & cook 10 minutes. Add parsley & cucumbers. Sharp!


Copyright 1997 Lynn Kerrigan. No portion of this article may be reproduced for publication without express, written permission of the author.

Culinary Sleuth Archive

This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007