Thursday, May 13, 2021

Italian Sub Sheet Bake


One of my biggest concerns about moving up to the lakehouse here in the Keweenaw full time is grocery shopping.   I've been spoiled living in Ann Arbor for 30 years, pretty much you can find whatever food item you want within the 20 minutes it takes to drive anywhere in that town.   There's an old saw that says "Ann Arbor is 24.6 square miles, surrounded by reality" and that is definitely true when it comes to food.     Living up here can be a challenge if you are looking for ingredients to make some things spontaneously.   So it was with great trepidation that I set out to put together this Sheet-Pan Italian Sub Dinner Sam Sifton suggested to me via his "What to Cook This Week" siren song in NYT.  

We have the good fortune of having an excellent food co-op here in the Keweenaw, and I was inspired to run for its Board of Directors as my retirement volunteer gig.   Unlike some co-ops, ours (although small )  carries an impressive selection of food far beyond the typical co-op fare of carob chips and tempeh.   I saw that we were starting to carry some handcrafted salami from Driftless Provisions, a boutique salumeria from Wisconsin, so I thought I'd give it a shot.   

This finnochiona is perfect on it's own for a charcuterie board so I wanted to taste it.    I bought one link of it to try next to a more value priced salami available at the co-op.  Both were great, but I am still having dreams about the Driftless sausage.   So good!   This recipe could even be made with a whatever hard salami you might have available at your typical megamart.    I also added ham to my bake to make it be a bit more substantial than the original.   I could see even adding some mortadella to the pan some day, if  I could ever lay my hands on some here in the Keweenaw.   I only needed a small container of ricotta that the co-op deli clerk helped me get instead of buying and entire container.    

I made a few more tweaks to the original recipe because parts of it needed help, based on the comments in NYT plus my own personal preferences.  For example, if  you make it with the radicchio, plan on using 2 sheet pans or everything will just steam instead of browning.   It was a hit!   The other change I will make next time is to replace the radicchio with a couple handfuls of arugula after baking.   Here's how I did it:

Italian Sub Sheet Bake

4 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons dried oregano
 Kosher salt and black pepper
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and patted dry
5 ounces salami (casing removed if there is one), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 ounces cooked ham, diced
1 red onion, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch 
1 medium head radicchio (about 3/4 pound), sliced  (optional)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
8 pepperoncini peppers
½ cup ricotta
 Crusty bread and baby arugula, for serving

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Coarsely chop the garlic, then add the dried oregano and 2 teaspoons salt on top of the garlic and chop together until it forms a paste. Transfer to a mason jar with a lid,  add vinegar and olive oil, shake.  Pour half the dressing into a large bowl, then add the chickpeas, salami, ham, tomatoes, pepperoncini red onion and radicchio (if using).  Mix gently to coat in the dressing, and spread out on a sheet pan  (or 2, if you are using the radicchio) and bake 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.   Make until onions are slightly browned.    Meanwhile add salt and pepper to ricotta to taste.   

Serve on top of a bed of arugula, drizzled with remaining dressing and a dollop of ricotta and some crusty bread.   

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