I love a good sandwich, and I love a good viral recipe.
This viral TikTok grinder is both.
Grinder is a term that is synonymous with sub or hoagie; it’s mostly used in New England. Per The Country Cook, the food blog where this particular recipe came from, this sandwich started as a sandwich-inspired salad that has since been turned back into a sandwich.
Take a few seconds to let that sink in.
This sandwich kept popping up on my Pinterest. Like a good millennial, I’m not on TikTok because I know the best trends show up on Instagram two weeks later.
I wanted to try this giant sandwich because my favorite Jimmy John’s sandwich is the Vito. It features cured Italian meats like salami and capocollo, so I was very much on board with the salami and pepperoni featured on this grinder.
The Country Cook added sopprasetta salami to its grinder. I could not find this quickly and, honestly, didn’t want to spend the time trying to find it in town, so I substituted some sliced turkey as well. It’s a quality lean protein and adds a little different flavor to the mix.
This sandwich makes a great weeknight meal. The fact that it makes one big sandwich to be sliced, rather than several individual sandwiches means it’s pretty quick work.
There’s just a little bit of chopping and slicing, most of the work is done by the deli slicer before the meat and cheese has been purchased. Those who grow their own tomatoes can feature the fruit from their gardens.
Add a bowl of veggie soup or some crudites and this sandwich is a complete meal — ready in less than an hour and it’s mostly layering meat and cheese. It’s messy and delicious.
I love thinking about food trends. With the internet, they pop up and fade away so quickly.
I like the idea of old-school viral recipes — a woman picks up a new cook book, magazine or even food product, and decides to try a new recipe. Maybe she brings it to the church picnic or a neighborhood potluck where other moms try it and want to know how it’s made.
It’s a scene I saw played out in my childhood with my own mom. It’s what brings a little more regionality to American food.
When food is shared, it spreads. We tweak recipes and make them our own.
In online communities, this sharing and spreading happens much quicker. The geographical bounds don’t mean as much.
What better way to share food than with a giant sandwich?
TikTok grinder salad sandwich
For the grinder salad:
- 1 cup mayonnaise.
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper.
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano.
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes.
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.
- ¼ cup sliced pepperoncini peppers.
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced.
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded.
For the sandwich:
- 16-ounce Italian loaf of bread.
- ½ pound thinly sliced provolone cheese.
- ½ pound thinly sliced ham.
- ¼ pound thinly sliced turkey.
- ¼ pound thinly sliced Genoa salami.
- 6 thinly sliced pieces of deli-sized pepperoni.
To assemble the sandwich:
- 2 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
- 1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced.
- Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic, pepper, oregano, chili flakes and salt until combined.
- Add the sliced pepperoncini and sliced red onion and stir around in the dressing until coated.
- Add the lettuce and, using tongs or a fork, toss it in the dressing to coat, then set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Cut the bread in half and place it on a baking sheet cut side up. Remove most of the inside of the bread leaving about a half-inch of the bread.
- Add half of the provolone cheese to each side. Place in the oven until melted, about four or five minutes.
- Layer the ham slices on one half of the sub and layer the turkey on the other half.
- Top the ham with the salami slices. Then, top the soppressata with the pepperoni.
- Place back in the oven to warm up the meat and to toast the bread, about five minutes.
- Remove from the oven then sprinkle the tops of the meat with a quarter of the Parmesan cheese.
- Add tomato slices, then drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Next, add some of the grinder salad prepared earlier. Top with the remaining parmesan cheese.
- Add the top half of the sandwich over the bottom half pressing it down gently.
- Cut into slices and serve.
Recipe adapted from The Country Cook at https://www.thecountrycook.net/tik-tok-grinder-salad-sandwich/.