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Totally Tail-Gating

September 30, 2010 By:
Eileen Goltz, JE Feature
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It seems appropriate that as football season gets into full swing, we celebrate by eating the quintessential tail-gate food: the "hero" sandwich. At its most basic, a hero -- or hoagie, as it's called in these parts -- is a large sandwich made of a long crusty roll, split lengthwise and filled with meats and cheese (and tomato and onion and lettuce and condiments galore). At its finest, it's a culinary work of art.

These deliciously full items can be served hot or cold, made vegan or be constructed as a carnivore's delight. When you pack them in a cooler with chips, salad and fruit, you have the perfect pre-game meal.

The following recipes are not exactly your traditional or typical sandwich recipe with layers of meat and cheese; I leave those babies to the fast-food franchises. The trick for readers here is also to keep them kosher. Still, these really big bites are the perfect thing to serve when you're looking to score extra points with your food -- and sports -- fans.

White Bean-and-Tuna Hero in a Wrap

(Dairy)

1 can (16 oz.) white beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsps. lemon juice
3 Tbsps. cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsps. olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. dried chili pepper
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 cup chopped red peppers
1/2 cup chopped radishes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can (6 oz.) white tuna, drained and flaked
6 (10-inch) flavored or plain flour tortillas

In a blender container or food processor, combine the drained beans with the lemon juice, cream cheese, olive oil, Parmesan, chili and marjoram. Process until the mixture is almost smooth.

Spread the mixture onto the tortillas. Then divide the red peppers, radishes, celery and tuna between between the tortillas. Roll them up egg-roll-style, enclosing the filling.

Cut the roll in half and wrap them in plastic wrap. These sandwiches can be made one day before you need them.

Serve them cold, or they can be wrapped in foil and heated at 350° for 15 minutes if preferred warm.

Makes 6 sandwiches.

Walnut-Chicken Hoagie

(Meat)

2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey (leftovers are perfect)
3/4 cup chopped pears
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsps. dried cranberries
1/8 tsp. salt
8 thick slices of sourdough bread
leaf lettuce

In a bowl, combine the chicken, pears, celery, walnuts, mayonnaise, cranberries, lemon juice and salt. Mix well.

Make sandwiches by placing the lettuce on 4 slices of raisin bread and placing 1/4 of the salad on top of each piece of lettuce. Place the remaining bread on top of each sandwich.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Basil-Artichoke Hoagie

(Dairy)

1 cup fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil
2-3 Tbsps. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. capers, drained
1 Tbsp. rice-wine vinegar
2-3 tsps. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 French bread (unsliced)
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (can use more)
4-5 oz. sliced provolone or mozzarella cheese (or to taste)
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 cups fresh spinach, torn in pieces (or you can use lettuce instead)

To Make the Basil/Parmesan Mixture: (This can be doubled, if desired.) In a blender or food-processor bowl, combine the basil, Parmesan, capers, rice-wine vinegar, mustard and garlic cloves; process until almost smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

Cut the bread in half length-wise. Hollow out each half (leaving a 1/2 -inch shell).

Spread the prepared basil mixture over each bread half, and then layer artichoke hearts (at this point you can add in cold cuts, if desired) then provolone cheese, tomato, and then top with spinach. Cover with the bread top.

Cut sandwich crosswise into about 6 to 8 pieces.

Feta-and-Olive Hero

(Dairy)

3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
2 Tbsps. chopped kalamata olives (or black ones, if you prefer)
4 Tbsps. cream cheese (one for each sandwich)
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp. dried oregano
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tsp. minced garlic
4 whole-wheat submarine rolls
4 lettuce leaves
1/2 lb. sliced smoked salmon

In a bowl, combine the mushrooms, cucumbers, olives, balsamic vinegar, oregano, tomatoes and garlic. Toss to combine. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Cut a thin slice off the top of each roll; set aside. Cut a 2-inch-wide, "U"-shaped wedge down the center of each roll. Spread the cream cheese on the inside of the "U."

Drain the vegetable mixture.

Line each indentation with a lettuce leaf, then arrange the smoked salmon evenly over top. Divide the vegetable mixture between the four rolls, then cover mixture with the top of the roll.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Turkey-and-Chili Hero
(Meat)
4 Tbsps. mayonnaise
2 Tbsps. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 small jalapeño, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
6 slices cooked kosher breakfast beef
4 thick slices sourdough bread, toasted
8 thin slices kosher turkey pastrami
4 large tomato slices
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
Romaine lettuce leaves

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño and cumin. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Spread the mayonnaise mixture over the bread. Cover two bread slices with turkey, then tomato, avocado and the cooked breakfast beef. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Top with Romaine lettuce and remaining bread slices. Cut diagonally and serve.

Serves 2.

Guacamole Hoagie

(Dairy)

1/2 cup guacamole (store-bought or homemade)
4 hoagie buns, split
4 slices pepper-jack cheese, cut in half diagonally
16 thin slices cucumber
8 thin red-bell-pepper rings
4 slices provolone cheese, cut in half diagonally
8 slices tomato
ground pepper

To Assemble: Spread the guacamole on the cut sides of the buns. Layer the bottom half of each bun with two pieces of cheddar, four slices of cucumber, two slices of pepper, two pieces of provolone and two slices of tomato. Season with pepper. Top with remaining bun half. Secure with a toothpick.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Eileen Goltz is a freelance food writer and the author of Perfectly Pareve. E-mail her at: ztlog@verizon.net.

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