Hi, welcome to Djalali Cooks, it’s great you’re here! I have an easy one today – my Take on an Italian Sandwich. I am eschewing definitions for this sandwich though. Because honestly, I suppose the only traditional Italian thing about it is the Italian dressing and the fact that it has a few meats, some provolone, tomato, lettuce and a homemade giardiniera. Get as creative as you want to with this one! Let’s get to it.
Giardiniera is an Italian relish of pickled vegetables. It’s often found on sandwiches, charcuterie boards or in a Bloody Mary. You can buy giardiniera at the supermarket, but I have an entire shelf in the fridge dedicated to pickled vegetables. So I am going to raid that shelf to create my own. I also have part of a green bell pepper rolling around in the crisper drawer, so I will toss that in too – for a little fresh crunch. Usually giardiniera is made up of bigger pieces of veggies, but since this batch is going straight into the sandwich, I will dice everything up into small pieces.
I want this giardiniera to be savory and spicy with little pops of sweet flavor. My combination will be mild green olives, a spicy dill pickle, pepperoncini peppers, pickled sweet cherry peppers and that bell pepper. I am going to add a tablespoon of the chopped Calabrian Chilis to tie it altogether.
Once this all mixed up, just set it aside, now we can move on to the dressing. This is a pretty straight-forward Italian dressing: red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic salt, pepper, and dried oregano. Pour these ingredients into a squeeze bottle or jar and shake to emulsify.
I am going to make a little salad with thin slices of lettuce and thinly sliced red onion. You can use iceberg or romaine for added crunch; I have butter lettuce. Just slice it thinly to create more of a shredded lettuce situation. Combine the shredded lettuce and red onion slices in a bowl and toss with dressing to coat the little salad. Set this aside.
I have store-bought hoagie rolls and I am just going to pop the whole roll into a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes; just to crisp up the outside a little and soften up the inside. I have the giardiniera, the dressed lettuce and onion salad, and sliced yellow tomatoes. For the meats, you want a variety of three meats, preferably a selection that includes a cured meat. I have salami, deli-sliced turkey and Bresaola (beef prosciutto). For the cheese, I am going with Provolone.
Layer it up!
Now we just start layering on the toppings. I like to slice the bread all the way through so that every bit of the bread gets an even amount of toppings. Start with dressing the bottom half of the roll with some of the vinaigrette. Then spread a few tablespoons of the giardiniera over the vinaigrette.
Now for the meat layers. Fold the meat slices to give some texture differentiation. I am starting with salami, then Bresaola.
Following that with the turkey, then it’s time for the tomatoes. Since the tomatoes are juicy, I want to layer them between a meat layer and the cheese.
Now for the cheese. Fold the cheese in half; I have thin sliced Provolone, so I am layering on four folded slices. And I have arranged them in a way to give the most even coverage over the tomatoes. Then scoop out some of the bread on the inside of the top half of the roll.
Fill that hollowed out space in the top half of the roll with some more giardiniera and set that top half down. Now, for the final layer: the lettuce and onion salad. Pile as much as you can on top of the cheese. Then add a few more squirts of the dressing on the salad and on the top half with the giardiniera.
Then Place the top half of the roll on top of the lettuce and onion salad and lightly press down on the sandwich.
My Take on an Italian Sandwich
To better keep this together, I am going to roll the whole sandwich in parchment paper, then cut it in half diagonally.
Place the sandwich on the bottom third of the parchment and fold up the bottom of the parchment and fold each side over the sandwich. Then, tightly roll the sandwich in the parchment up and away from you. Hopefully the end of parchment lands on the bottom, but if not, that’s ok. Just hold the sandwich and use a serrated knife to saw the sandwich in half.
I only made one of these Italian Sandwiches and Alex and I shared it. But almost immediately after I finished my half, I wished I made two! It’s so good! When I worked a nine-to-five, we often would go to the nearby sandwich shop for lunch. I haven’t been to sandwich shop for over two years – but this sandwich is just as amazing as any I have had at a shop.
If you have followed Djalali Cooks for a while now, you know we love sandwiches here. So if you do too, and you haven’t yet checked out some of my other sandwich creations, check them out! Give me a follow on Instagram and pin this recipe on Pinterest, it’s a keeper for sure! Take care and be well everyone, xo Kelly
Based on a typical Italian sandwich, we have three kinds of meat, Provolone cheese, homemade giardiniera, lettuce, onions and Italian dressing.
- 1 Dill Pickle Spear, finely diced
- 4-6 Pickled Cherry Peppers, finely diced
- 4-6 Large Green Olives, finely diced
- 4-6 Pepperoncini Peppers, finely diced
- 1/4 Green Bell Pepper, finely diced
- 1 tbsp. chopped Calabrian Chili
- Italian Dressing
- 4 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
- Pinch of Garlic Salt
- Pinch Black Pepper
- Pinch Dried Oregano
- Italian Sandwich
- 5-6 Slices Each of 3 types of Meat, one should be cured (think: Salami, Prosciutto, Bresaola, or Coppa)
- 4-6 Slices of Cheese, like Provolone
- 3-5 Tomato Slices
- 2-4 Lettuce Leaves (like iceberg, romaine or even butter lettuce), sliced thin to make shreds
- 5-8 Slices of Red onion, sliced thin
- 1 Hoagie Roll
Combine all giardiniera ingredients in a small bowl and mix well, set aside.
Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar or squeeze bottle, shake until well emulsified and set aside.
Combine the shredded lettuce and onion slices in a small bowl and dress with a few teaspoons of the dressing, toss well to coat the lettuce and onions, set aside.
Slice the hoagie roll in half lengthwise and dress the bottom half with about a teaspoon of the dressing.
Then spread a layer of the giardiniera on top of the dressed bottom half.
Top the giardiniera with a first layer of meat like salami, then layer on the other two sliced meats.
Top the meats with the tomato slices.
Top the tomato slices with the cheese slices.
Hollow out some of the bread in the top half of the hoagie roll and fill the hollowed out area with more giardiniera.
Pile the dressed lettuce and onion salad on top of the cheese layer and dress both halves with more dressing.
Place the top half on top of the bottom half and lightly press together.
Slice the sandwich in half and enjoy!