Friday, February 1, 2013

Mini Italian Sandwiches

Perfect minis for a party, these sandwiches are layered with provolone cheese, black forest ham, salami and your choice of Italian cold cuts, such as hot capolcolo or mortadella, dressed with creamy Italian dressing, lettuce, tomatoes and olives, if you like.

Mini Italian Sandwiches

Now, first caveat before I get lectured, this is not intended to be any kind of authentic Italian sub or  hoagie, but there was a pizza joint near my Biloxi apartment many years ago, and I was addicted to one of their menu sandwiches, called the Mona Lisa. Like a muffuletta, I could get one of those and eat on it for days.

I can't recall if the restaurant was Sicily's Pizza or something else that was in that building before them, but I really loved that sandwich. I have no idea how it got the name, but it was pretty much made up of the basic meats that one would consider to be on a classic Italian sandwich, except that instead of being dressed in an olive oil vinaigrette, it was dressed with a creamy Italian dressing.

Just for the sake of convenience to make it a "recipe," and considering it's Super Bowl weekend, I wrote it for 12 mini sandwiches, but of course you can adjust that to your own prep method. For the smaller oblong hoagie type of rolls, you'll need to ask the deli to slice you one slice for each sandwich of provolone cheese, black forest ham, salami, and your choice of any Italian cold cut. I used hot capolcolo on half of the sandwiches and mortadella on the others. For a larger po'boy type of roll you'll probably need 4 slices of each, or for smaller dinner sized rolls, you'll probably only need a half slice each.

Now that I've made it, I seem to recall that there was some kind of a mustardy element to the creamy Italian dressing. Not a lot, just a taste really, so next time I make these, I'll be adding just a tiny bit of a nice spicy mustard and I think I'll be pretty close to the taste I remember.

These would be a great addition to any party, including your Super Bowl table, whether you go large and slice, or make them on smaller, individual buns. Here's how to build them.

First preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. so we can warm the sandwiches up and melt the cheese. To build the sandwich I used a small hoagie style of oblong bun. Use whatever you like. Place one slice of provolone on the bottom half of each of the rolls.

Top that with a slice of a good ham. I used black forest ham.

Add one slice of your favorite traditional Italian cold cut. I put hot capocolo on half of my sandwiches and mortadella on the other half, but choose whatever you like. Some other good choices might be sopressata, prosciutto or pancetta, but I would suggest only one per sandwich. Italian cold cuts are strong in flavor, and too many flavors with the rest of the meats on this sandwich, tends to be a bit too overpowering to me.

And last, top with one slice of salami.

Put the tops on, place sandwiches on a baking sheet, cover tightly and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes to warm the meats through and melt the cheese. Looks like I forgot to snap a picture of the foil covered sandwiches, but you get the drift, right?

Remove from the oven, uncover and dress sandwiches with sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, and a drizzle of a homemade or commercial creamy Italian dressing. I tried making a few versions of homemade creamy Italian, but found that I just liked the taste of commercial creamy Italian dressing best.

Top with shredded lettuce, sliced black olives if you like them (I do!) and drizzle a little more dressing on top.

Replace sandwich tops and transfer to a serving platter. Put the rest of the dressing in a cruet or squirt bottle to serve at the table.

It's certainly not traditional, but I also like to add pickled onions to mine. If you're serving these as a party food, you can offer those or some very thinly sliced raw onion on the side for the onion lovers - sweet, yellow or purple are all good.

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Recipe: Mini Italian Sandwiches

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 10 min | Yield: 12 sandwiches

  • 12 count package of mini oblong hoagies or sandwich rolls
  • 12 slices of provolone cheese
  • 12 slices each of black forest smoked ham, plus either hot capocolo or mortadella (or a mixture), and salami
  • 6 Roma or about 3 slicing tomatoes, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • Homemade or commercially bottled creamy Italian dressing
  • 2 cups of shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup of sliced black olives, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place one slice of provolone on the bottom half of each of mini roll. Top with a slice of black forest ham, one slice of either hot capocolo or mortadella, and one slice of salami. Put tops on sandwiches and place them on a baking sheet. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes to warm the meats through and melt the cheese.

Remove, uncover and dress sandwiches with sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, creamy Italian dressing, shredded lettuce and black olives; drizzle with additional dressing. Replace sandwich tops and transfer to a serving platter. Put remaining dressing in a cruet or squirt bottle to pass at the table.

Cook's Notes: Make these on larger or smaller rolls as desired. Though it's not traditional, I like to add pickled onions to my sandwich, but if you're serving these as a party food, you can offer those or some very thinly sliced raw onion on the side - sweet, yellow or purple are all good.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on February 1, 2013
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  1. Authentic or not, it looks fantastic to me!

  2. As both a sandwich man and a muff fan, this made me instantly hungry

  3. We are big fans of Italian subs at my house. Love the idea of using creamy Italian as a dressing. I'll be making these for sure.

  4. I don't care if it is "authentic" or not, I'd eat that in a heartbeat!


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