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:

  • Shred lettuce fine and toss with vinegar and olive oil, as if you are making a salad.
  • Slice tomatoes and onions thin.
  • Layer your choice of meats (we used cappicole and hard salami), provolone cheese, tomato slices, sliced onion and shredded lettuce in that order on a good Italian hoagie roll. Pile high. Sprinkle with Italian herbs like oregano and/or basil. Some people prefer mayonnaise instead of vinegar and oil on their hoagies. Other additions may be hot and/or sweet chopped peppers, pickles, relish and mustards. Making this full meal on a roll can really allow your creative juices full reign.

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
  • 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 (6-inch) submarine rolls
  • 12 ounces crab or lobster meat or surimi seafood, shredded
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
  • lettuce leaves
  • cucumber salsa (recipe follows)

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

  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dillweed

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
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour
  • 1-1/4 cups beef or chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered mustard, mixed to a paste with a little water
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 pickled cucumbers, chopped fine

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.

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

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