In the very first edition of “Great People, Great Sandwiches”, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my childhood heroes, Tony Ganios. Tony has starred in numerous film and TV roles over the years. He is perhaps best known for playing “Perry” In The Wanderers. But my favourite of all will always be his portrayal of Anthony ‘Meat‘ Tuperello in Porky’s. And if you’re writing a column about sandwiches, then your first entrant has to be Meat, doesn’t it? I think so.
If you aren’t familiar with Porky’s, you really should give it a watch. The deservedly rated R comedy is the highest grossing Canadian movie in history. Porky’s definitely had a massive impact on my own personal comedic upbringing. When my brother and I were kids, we would often visit Prince Edward Island in the summer. Our grandfather had a Betamax full of old movies from the 70’s and 80’s. So I’d conservatively estimate that in my childhood I watched Porky’s over 200 times. It is hilarious. So it was a great honour for me to become acquainted with Tony via Twitter.
Let’s get down to the million dollar question: What is Tony Ganio’s go-to sandwich? Tony G’s “Wanderers Wedge” won’t be easy to top (or eat in one sitting).
Tony G’s “Wanderers Special” Wedge
This robust sandwich will really put hair on your chest. The only problem is there never seems to be enough bread to keep it together. Designed for hearty appetites, it tastes best when accompanied by a steaming hot bowl of Italian lentil soup whose recipe I have magnanimously included.
12″ loaf of Italian or French bread 1/4 pound of mortadella 1/4 pound of prosciutto 1/4 pound of soppressata 1/4 pound of hot capicola 1/4 pound of provolone 1/4 pound of Emmentaler 2 cups of shredded escarole leaves 3 cups of Italian long hot peppers (sauteed) 4 tbs of mayonnaise 4 tbs of hot deli mustard
DIRECTIONS Slice the loaf lengthwise and evenly spread mustard on the upper half and mayo on the bottom half, then cover both with a generous portion of hot peppers. Starting with the bottom half, overlap slices of mortadella in a layer across the bread, followed by a layer of prosciutto and a layer of sliced provolone. Top with a layer of mayonnaise, shredded escarole, and more hot peppers. Now do the same thing to the upper half, overlapping slices of soppressata, capicola, and Swiss cheese across the bread in successive layers, finishing off with a layer of mustard. Carefully place the halves together and cut the sandwich in two pieces.
Editor’s note: Don’t worry about the calories. It’s worth it. Just make sure the coke you wash it down with is diet.
Bonus: Tony G’s Italian Lentil Soup
This nourishing soup has always been a southern Italian favorite. When eaten with an overstuffed deli sandwich like my “Wanderers Special” Wedge, Zuppa di Lenticchie is part of the ultimate comfort food combo.
-3 quart saucepan -6 to 8 quart stock pot –a sturdy wooden spoon
INGREDIENTS -1 large onion -diced 2 large celery stalks with leaves, -diced 4 small carrots -diced Olive oil 8 whole dried bay leaves -1 tbs of salt and 1 tbs of freshly ground black pepper -3 quarts of chicken stock -One 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes -One lb package of dried lentils -6 chicken thighs -Three 6 oz packages of fresh baby spinach -Pecorino Romano cheese
DIRECTIONS Place the chicken thighs in the saucepan and cover them completely with water. Cook chicken with the cover on over medium heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool. Remove and the skin and pull meat off the bones, breaking it up by hand into bite-sized pieces. Coat the bottom of the stock pot with olive oil. Add the mixture of onions, celery, and carrots along with the salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Cook with the cover on over a low flame until the vegetables soften (10 – 12 minutes) while stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, and lentils. Apply medium heat until mixture begins to boil. Lower the flame and simmer with the cover off for 40 minutes while stirring occasionally (stir off the bottom to prevent sticking). Turn off the heat. Remove bay leaves. Add cooked chicken, then add the raw spinach a handful at a time. Push spinach down into the hot mixture with a wooden spoon (it will wilt instantly). Cover the pot and let it sit for 15 minutes. Serve with grated Romano cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. *Let remainder of the soup cool to room temperature before refrigerating. For more variety, substitute one pound of Italian hot sausage, cooked and cut into inch thick circles, for three of the chicken thighs.
Both of these recipes can be found in Tony Ganio’s “The Manly Man’s Cookbook”. Thanks to Tony for these above and beyond contributions. They certainly won’t be easy to top. If anybody tackles The Wanderer’s Wedge and lives to tell about it, please tag me on Twitter.