Updated: Mar 15
So I needed to run to the grocery store at lunch yesterday. I am not going to lie. If I could, I would always do grocery home delivery but sometimes you just need to run out. Let's face it, with COVID-19, trying to work and homeschooling, keeping the rest of my life in line is a challenge. My daughter somehow convinced me to take her to the Coinstar machine to exchange her pennies, and the only one nearby is in the Giant grocery store.
I'm a Wegmans lover, so I wasn't looking forward to it. I don’t know where things are. I only had an hour because it was my lunch break from my day job. But the things we do for our children sometimes. Things I never thought I would do.
That morning, I had decided that there would be no more carbs during the week. Carbs are only reserved for "research" for my beloved hoagie blog. Then it happened.
I was doing great. Following the carb-free list on the Alexa App when I was railroaded.
I was in the bakery isle and there were these beautiful Liscio seeded rolls. I needed one pronto. I became elated then hangry immediately. Get me out of this store!
But I needed to get in line for the deli to get my meats and cheeses but I could tell, it was going to take some time. While waiting to order, I meandered through their specialty meats and cheeses and I found something amazing!
Pre-packaged meats imported from Italy…what? Right next to the Extra Sharp Provolone from Bel Gioioso - my go-to for stinky cheese in the burbs. The brand is Veroni Brand, which I had not heard of before. There were several Salumi's* to choose from - Calabrese (like me), Di Parma and Milano. Online they also have Truffle Salumi -- YUM! They also had Speck, which is a dry cured ham, and Proscuitto. I also saw Mortadella online but not in the store. Ever have Mortadella? Holy cow, its amazing! More on that at a later time.
Everything was sliced paper thin - my dream. I grabbed it all and checked around for any sign of the price. Nothing, nada. I figured it would be very expensive but I had no time to check! At check out, my daughter grabbed the receipt for later inspection and hopefully no remorse.
Back at home, I laid everything out and began my hoagie assembly.
Bread: Liscio's seeded bread - dense and crusty. I cut and scooped out the inside to make space. Being carb-conscious I put it aside to NOT eat. I did eat it later.
Condiments: I started with extra virgin olive oil. Place it on both sides of the bread. Then I added mayo, closed the hood to spread it evenly on the top and bottom. Just enough to not overwhelm the hoagie with condiments. I also added oregano, pepper and a small pinch of salt.
hoagieLOVE Pro Tip: Salt is not necessary as there is a lot of salt in the cured meats. It's up to your taste buds.
Meats & Cheese: I prefer the block of extra sharp provolone from Bel Gioioso because I find most delis don’t have sharp enough stinky cheese. I cut it in small pieces and line the bread with my cheese. I then added the Speck. I prefer to fold each piece and layer each piece slightly over each other.
I then added the Salumi to break up the two meats with the same texture - Speck and Proscuitto. I wanted to be able to experience the flavors separately too.
Then I added one more layer of Salumi to round out my meat to cheese to veggie ratio. Meat should have the highest ratio in the hoagie.
hoagieLOVE Pro Tip: I remove the larger pieces of fat from both the Speck and Proscuitto to get the full flavor.
Veggies: I then added my thin sliced onions, tomato then lettuce. This time I used Boston lettuce in larger pieces because during my supermarket sweep, this was the first organic lettuce I encountered. I do prefer organic ingredients, when available.
I then added my pickles and banana peppers. I cut up one of my giant Costco pickles and this time, I used mild peppers.
Reorganization Rating: I only needed to tuck in the lettuce, but everything stayed. I've gotten pretty good at this at home and I attribute it to removing some of the bread inside and not putting too much mayo and oil to keep the experience to zero slippage. Score!
Eating experience: Immediately, I noticed that I needed more oregano. Looking back at the video, I should have covered both the top and bottom of the bread with oregano, not just the bottom. I also noticed the smoky flavor of the Speck which differentiated this from others. If you do not like smoky, I would recommend that you cut back on the amount of Speck or eliminate altogether. I thought it was a nice touch.
hoagieLOVE Pro Tip: Maybe replace the Speck with Mortadella…it's on my mind now.
Next meal survival rate: I saved a sliver for later, and as suspected, it held up nicely. No mush and based on using super fresh ingredients, nothing was wilty. No one likes a wilty piece of lettuce or tomato, right? Wilty lettuce reminds me of that weird garnish at a "family restaurant" where you can order a meal "complete". The salad comes out on a glass dish with an etched design, a dinner roll, pats of butter in a dish. You know what I mean, right?
Overall happiness rating: Listen, I snuck this in and was super thrilled with the experience. After eating my impromptu lunch break hoagie, I reviewed my receipt from Giant. The Speck and Prosciutto were $6.99 (3-4 oz), Salami was $5.99 (4 oz) and the Provolone was $4.79 (bargain!) I'd say the pricing was very good considering these were specialty, imported meats from Italy. Check out Veroni Brand at Giant to get that specialty taste from a local grocery store.
Next stop….Italian Hoagie Salad. Let's see if it can provide that hoagie flavor without the carbs this time.
*I've used the Italian spelling for "salami" in this blog as it was too good to compare to your average grocery store salami. Salumi….say it with me…Salumi!