Friday, January 20, 2017

On Top of Old Meatball, All Covered With Cheese...

     Sub shops were everywhere when I was growing up in Baltimore.  Serving everything from cheesesteaks to pizza subs, cold cuts and meatball subs it was good food at great prices.  While never touted as health food it was what it's loyal customers wanted, a quick filling lunch or something to settle the stomach after a night of drinking.  I have firsthand experience with this, queasy stomach from too much alcohol?  Nothing settles things down like greasy food which makes no sense but who am I to question alchemy?

     I did a search for sub shops in Baltimore today and I was left with this distinct impression that they are well past their prime and disappearing quickly.  I put the question to the people on a Baltimore memories Facebook page and they confirmed what I feared most.  People, especially the younger crowd, would rather waste their money at Subway or Panera than at a good old fashioned mom & pop sub shop.  The fault lies with a more health conscious crowd today along with the fact that mom & pop died or retired and the next owners cheapened the food, increased prices and ran the business into the ground with horrible customer service.  Anyone who doubts this can look at Carnegie Deli in New York who just closed their doors after decades of service.

     Now when I used to go to a sub shop I had 2 favorites, the Baltimore Cheesesteak aka a Cheesesteak Hoagie or an Italian Cold Cut Sub.  Meatball subs however were the favorite of my departed mother who I really don't recall ordering anything else besides a pizza sub on rare occasions.  The idea for making a meatball sub came as I was working on the menu for the sub shop I want to open... someday.  I knew to be complete it had to have a meatball sub on it and as it turns out I had a great recipe for Italian Meatballs I had written about a couple years ago.  All I really needed was a tomato "marinara" sauce that wasn't expensive but wasn't cheap garbage either.  I decided to hunt around and finally just made my own and I'll share that recipe next week so bear with me. For this recipe you're going to need the meatball recipe down below and form the meatballs into 1 1/2oz balls.  I did 2oz balls in the picture and they're too big.  You'll need some good sub rolls too... ahem Amoroso... if you can get them.  I used Publix sub rolls which are amazingly like Amoroso rolls.  The garlic butter is easy, just a clove of minced garlic in 2T melted butter with some parsley flakes mixed in. Finally, some recipes call for mozzarella cheese on the sub, but to my memory no sub shop I frequented used mozzarella, they used provolone, the end product is something Harley Brinsfield would have been proud to serve.  And by the way, yes I know I paraphrased the song in the title...
The Man - Harley Brinsfield

Italian Meatball Sub

1 sub roll cut in half and sliced open.
Garlic Butter
Italian Meatballs (opens in new window)
Marinara Sauce (uncomplicated and simple)
Provolone Cheese

After your meatballs are formed, refrigerate for one hour to let the flavors come together.  In a frying pan heat some olive oil and quickly brown the outside of the meatballs then place them in the oven at 350° for 15 minutes until done on the inside.  Meanwhile warm your marinara sauce in a pot but don't let it boil.  On the inside of the sub roll brush down liberally with garlic butter then toast in oven until toasted about 5-6 minutes.  Place 3 meatballs inside the toasted roll then ladle some marinara sauce over the meatballs and top with 2 thin slices of provolone.  Return to oven for 5 more minutes until cheese is melted and sub is warmed through.  Serve immediately.


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