Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New York Greaser

The name of this sandwich says it all! 
     While I was working in restaurants on the east coast, there always seemed to be a few cooks in the kitchen from New York City.  The NYC cooks always bragged up the food from back home.  Hey!  New York City food is worth bragging up! 
     Big Apple sub shops and Italian delicatessens always have local nicknamed food items on the menu.  Local customers would know what a "Greaser" is in some neighborhoods.  When a customer who was new to the area would ask "What is a Greaser?"  The deli cooks answer always started with these words; "You don't know what a Greaser is?"  Then the deli cook would shake his head in disbelief and disgust over the thought that anyone would not know what a Greaser is! 
     Traditionally, a greaser is made by dipping large pieces of bell pepper and onions with an Italian sausage in hot fryer oil repeatedly.  When the onions and peppers caramelize and the sausage is cooked brown, the cook would empty the fryer basket onto an Italian sub roll without shaking off the excess grease.  The "Greaser" nickname came from having enough grease dripping from the sandwich to slick down the customers hair.  Those greasy, slick, mens hair styles from the 1960's is what this sandwich was named after.  You didn't need hair styling grease if you were eating one of these sandwiches! 
     Cheese was the only option on a "Greaser" sandwich.  The only sliced cheeses in old New York Italian delis were provolone or mozzarella.  When a customer asked for American cheese, the deli cook would say "You actually eat that stuff?"  LOL 
     Recipe:  Bake a large sweet Italian sausage in a 400 degree oven till it is full cooked, plump and juicy. 
     Lay a few thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese on an Italian sub roll that is split open.  Bake the roll till the bread is crusty and the cheese becomes soft. 
     Heat a generous amount of blended olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  Place large cut pieces of red and green bell pepper in the hot oil.  Add large cut onion pieces.  When the peppers are cooked half way, add the baked sausage.  Pan fry the sausage, peppers and onions till all the ingredients get brown highlights. 
     Use tongs or a fryer skimmer to remove the ingredients from the hot grease and place them directly on the melted mozzarella cheese on the toasted sub roll. 
     Place the sandwich on a plate and serve with some Italian Pickled Giardiniera.  (Store bought Italian giardiniera is fine for this recipe.)  Sprinkle a little bit of dried oregano over the sandwich. 
     Serving a New York Greaser Sandwich with French Fries just might be considered to be "grease overkill!"  Just forget about asking for French Fries in a NY Italian Deli.  The response that you will get from the deli clerk would be;  "French Fries?  This is an Italian deli!" 
     Obviously, this New York Greaser sandwich is not a sandwich that is meant to be eaten everyday.  A good "Greaser" sandwich does bring back memories of the good old days when food was fun!  Delicious!  Ciao Baby!  ...  Shawna      

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