There used to be a grocery store where I grew up on Mott Street called May’s. I’d go there for lunch because May made great sandwiches, especially fried baloney sandwiches. I know a lot of people have never heard of fried baloney but it really tastes great and is very simple to make.
For some reason, we call it baloney when it’s spelled Bologna, the city in Italy where it was first made. I guess that’s an Americanization, like saying “gabagool” for “capicola.”
All you need is bread, baloney and a little oil to fry it in. The better the bread, the better the sandwich. I like mine the way May used to do it, with mustard, relish, and lettuce.
Subs, hoagies, grinders – that’s fine but in New York, it’s a hero. Sandwiches Italian-Style doesn’t necessarily mean 8 different kinds of meat and cheese and a bunch of other things, where each flavor cancels out the next. It shouldn’t be that complicated.
For a good Italian-Style sandwich the most important thing is the bread. On the right bread, cream cheese and Welch’s grape jelly can be something special. Then comes basic but high-quality ingredients. After that, the main condiments are simply salt, pepper and maybe a few drops of olive oil. Here are a few standards.
Sausage & Peppers – Fry some bell peppers and an onion. Then fry the sausage in the same pan. Simple
Tuna with Lemon and Onion – Use imported tuna packed in olive oil, add some thinly sliced lemon (with skin) and onion. A little romaine if you like.
Ricotta on a Roll – Scrape some of the bread out of the top of the roll to make room for the ricotta so it doesn’t squeeze out.
Mootz & Tomato – Fresh cold mozzarella with sliced tomatoes and basil if you have it.
Escarole – Add just washed and still wet escarole leaves to a pan where you’ve sautéed some garlic in oil. Simmer until it wilts. It’s as easy as that.
Note that only one of these sandwiches contains meat, another fish and the last three are vegetarian. That says something about the Mediterranean Diet.