A couple weeks ago, in preparation for my forthcoming visit, a friend of mine texted me asking, “You eat Italian combo sandwiches?” to which I replied “Sure.”
It was the perfect, innocent response that showed no signs of my intense hatred of pepperoni and other salamis and, instead, permitted me to still be the low-maintenance houseguest I always strive to be.
Plus I figured it’d be great fodder for the blog (#doitfortheblog).
Well joke was on me because I thoroughly enjoyed that Italian sub on the beach, complete with not one, but two, types of salami. So much so that I went on to try (and enjoy!) a bite of Picky Boyfriend’s Italian sub (with more meats than I can name) the following week!
With this newfound acceptance of—if not appreciation for—salami, I decided it was finally time to try a recipe I’ve had saved for well over a year with no intention of ever making: NYT Cooking’s Sheet-Pan Italian Sub Dinner.
The premise of the recipe is to take the classics from an Italian sub and roast them on a sheet pan before serving with ricotta and crusty bread. With that in mind, I made a few tweaks to fit my own tastes and make it Picky Boyfriend–approved. That meant omitting the chickpeas and radicchio and adding prosciutto, roasted red peppers, and Calabrian chiles.
After roasting all my toppings for about 15 minutes, I piled them onto a freshly ricotta’d ciabatta loaf and dug in.
What else can I say but that I’ve been a fool for sleeping on salami (not literally, that’d be gross) for so long.
The meats were salty and crispy, the pepperoncini was a juicy standout star, and the chiles brought just the right amount of heat.
And I know this post is supposed to be about new foods, but when did a chunk of ciabatta ever steer anyone wrong?
In hindsight, I probably should’ve tried a slice of the salami on its own before roasting it to really confirm that I liked it, but my brain is so engineered to not do that, that it didn’t even cross my mind until a good 24 hours later. Oh well. Maybe next time.
If all this excitement wasn’t enough, fate blessed me with leftovers, which transformed into the world’s greatest pasta salad the next day. The same vinaigrette that seasoned the roasted toppings the night before dressed a boatload of pasta, shallots, red peppers, basil, and feta—and of course the rest of those toppings!
It was truly delicious and a must-make-again.
Perhaps the biggest upside to all this is that the next charcuterie board I meet may even find me picking up more than just the mozzarella and prosciutto! So what are your favorite Italian meats that I need to try next? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram @thepickyeaterchronicles.