Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Hot Mess

Back when I was a bit of a younger lad, I worked retail, like so many of us do, and at the mall which housed my department store (Mervyn's!), there was a food court.  And in that food court was a small vendor which made hot sandwiches.  Philly Cheesesteaks were the draw for most.  But I liked their hot club sandwich.  Ham, turkey, mushrooms, onions, and peppers, with cheese melted on top, served on a mayo'd hoagie roll.  A little piece of marvelous heaven.

And it wasn't just necessarily the food that was good, but watching the owner and his grill antics, and how he'd slice and dice things on the hot griddle and bring it all together.

Somewhere down the line, long after I moved out of the area and up here, I decided that I should figure out how to make those, because.. YUMMMM!!

Turns out, it is very easy to put them together, and realistically, you can incorporate anything you really want into these.

But to keep with the spirit of the original, I use Black Forest ham, smoked turkey, and either provolone or swiss depending on my mood.

I Julienne a green pepper and a medium onion to start.  Then coarsely chop a good 3-4 white mushrooms per sandwich.   Also, depending on size and thickness of the slices, and how stuffed I want my sandwich,  I set aside 2-3 slices of ham and turkey both per sandwich, and 1 or two slices of cheese.

I also open up my hoagie rolls and get them prepped with mayo.  Once you start going, there won't be time to do much prep on the fly.   Things burn rather quickly.

Starting with a hot skillet or griddle (I prefer cast iron because it wears better and handles high heat well), I pour in about a teaspoon or two of EVOO, and then throw a good handful total of the veggies on (maybe a little less than a quarter cup of each give or take).  Just enough oil to get the veggies softening up.  Toss them around until they just start to change color, but not yet soft.

Then I bring on the meats.  If I'm feeling nostalgic, I'll put on the slices whole, and use a pair of metal flippers to chop up the meats on the griddle like they did it at my favorite shop.  Otherwise, I just shred them up in my fingers as I toss them on, and then continue to toss the whole lot for a few more minutes.

Just as the vegetables soften and the meats heat through, I  group everything into a hoagie-shaped row in the middle of the griddle and toss on the slices of cheese right on top.

Once the cheese starts melting, I open up the hoagie roll and cover up my little pile right on the griddle, press it down a little bit,  and let it sit for a moment longer.

The next part takes a little practice: slide the flipper under the pile and while holding the bun on top, turn the whole mess over onto a plate.  You probably won't get everything, but you can always scrape it up and put it on top of the sandwich.

Scrape off any burned up bits, and start the process over for the next sandwich.

Serve immediately.  And enjoy the hot melty goodness!