Bologna is a much maligned and ignored luncheon meat. It originated in Bologna, Italy, where it is known as mortadella. Mortadella and bologna have the same ingredients, but the former has little flecks of pork fat in it. American bologna is just a plain shade of pink all over.
The ingredient list is identical for both cuts: beef cuts, pork cuts, pork fat, salt, white pepper, coriander, sweet paprika, nutmeg, garlic and potato flour. As a cold luncheon meat, it tastes pretty much how it looks...unremarkable.
But something remarkable happens to bologna when you fry it. It completely transforms the taste and texture. It's kind of like this formula: smoked pork belly + heat = BACON! Yes, this formula: 1 + 1 = 5! Heat + Bologna = 5!
When you fry bologna, the stars in the sky realign...allowing you to build what is probably one of the world's greatest sandwiches. But frying bologna isn't quite as simple as it sounds. It's round shape causes it to buckle and fold, making it a most unruly sandwich ingredient.
To prevent this, you need to partially quarter the slices. Keep each slice intact, but cut 4 deep notches that will maintain flatness as you fry it. Once fried, you will ask your bologna to join a troupe of sandwich all-stars that will cause you to make this sandwich again and again and again. And that's no baloney.
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard (Gulden's is my fave)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill pickles (Claussen Hearty Garlic is my fave)
2 tablespoons pickle brine
Fresh ground black pepper
7 ounces thinly sliced bologna
4 slices seeded rye bread
A few iceberg lettuce leaves, torn to size of bread
- Mix mustard, mayonnaise, and chopped pickles in a small bowl to combine; season with pepper.
- Arrange half of bologna slices in a neat stack. Starting near the center and working toward the edges of the stack, cut four 1"-long slits, spacing evenly. Repeat with remaining bologna.
- Heat a dry, large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat.Working in batches, arrange bologna slices in a single layer in skillet and cooked until golden brown all over and crisp (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer to a plate as done. Save skillet with any fat.
- Arrange bread in a single layer in reserved skillet and cook over medium-high heat until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer to a cutting board.
- To build sandwiches, spread mustard mixture evenly over each slice of bread. Grind black pepper over mustard. Divide bologna between 2 slices and top with lettuce, then drizzle with pickle brine. Close up sandwiches and cut in half. Serve.
Pairing: If you insist on washing down your sandwich with wine, I would suggest a Pinot Noir. But if I'm going to eat an incredible sandwich like this, I'm gonna grab an ice cold Pilsner.
|Grogs and Goldie, 1956|