Monday, January 02, 2006

Italian Grinder

The true Italian Grinder originated in the states at a small Italian grocery store and deli on the north end of Shaw Street in New London, CT. in the late 1940's. The shop was run by the Christophers, and Ernie Christopher made THE BEST grinder available anywhere. Right around the corner - a half block away - on Bank Street was an Italian bakery, so it was a natural fit.

It's an easy sandwich to make, but you need the best ingredients available.


1 Loaf fresh Italian Bread
6-8 slices of imported Genoa salami (can also use prosciutto)
6-8 slices of imported Provolone Cheese
Sliced Tomato
Shredded Lettuce
Grinder Salt (*)
Fresh Ground Pepper

Slice bread in half lengthwise. Drizzle or spritz each half with olive oil. Place slices of salami on one of the halves, and the sliced tomatoes on top of the salami slices. Top with the slices of provolone cheese, followed by the shredded lettuce. Salt and pepper the lettuce, followed by another drizzling or spritzing of olive oil. Close and slice in half.

Do NOT use American cheese

(*) Grinder salt is a blend of sea salt, onion powder and lots of garlic powder


Anonymous said...

This is pretty close. I grew up on these things in New London. My version would be similar:

Slice the bread lengthwise and open it up. Spritz it with olive oil. Then slices of provolone. Slices of Cotto (or Cooked) salami. Then the tomatoes and shredded lettuce. Then lots of olive oil on the lettuce. Then salt and pepper.

The best olive oil is somewhere between evoo and extra light. It is sometimes just called "pure" olive oil.
The tricky part is the grinder bread. It is a tough bread that has a thin hard crust. I can't find it anywhere here in Ohio.

Il Marmocchio said...

You are correct in stating that the grinder bread is a thin-crusted, tough (chewy) bread and it IS hard to find in many places. If you are of the baking persuasion, you can make it fairly easily. Italian bread is basically flour, water, yeast and salt, and is baked in a very hot oven with steam. It's in the shaping and baking method than one gets the size, shape and texture.

Anonymous said...

My family migrated from the South to New London CT in 1941 where I was born in 1957, and grew up on Shaw St where the popular choices were grinders from either "Nick's Groceries",( owned by Nicholas Bogas, or "Tony's",(AKA, "The New York Fruit Store" owned by Antonio Ferrante. Tony's went on to become "The Grinder King". His grinders were authentic italian grinders. My family continues to call New London home and craves the original flavor of the semolina "crisp" bread, drenched with olive oil, provolone cheese, meat tomatoes, and chopped or thinly slice lettuce, sprinkled with salt and pepper. I now live in the Pacific Northwest,where they don't have a clue about the real thing, and I crave it on a daily basis!

Il Marmocchio said...

Ah yes, Shaw St. When I was very young and around 1943, we also lived there. I remember the places you mention. If you make your own Italian Bread like I do, I can provide you with a bread recipe that is about as close the New London grinder bread as you can get. We make grinders very often here, and with summer upon us and loads of fresh tomatoes and lettuce, we'll be making them at least weekly.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Groton Long Point, a short drive to Grotn where we bought our grinders...dont remember the store but was near Electric Boat where other subs were made..aplace near GLP made a grinder with cabbace very finely chopped replacing the lettuce...try it!!!

Il Marmocchio said...

Sounds interesting - I may have to try that.

Anonymous said...

I lived in the navy housing area (nautilus park) in the 60's. I wonder if one of those italian restaurants mentioned is Apollo's! I will never forget it.Best grinders ever. I was 9. The bread is hardest to find but here in Colorado Albertsons makes one up daily fresh. I know my Dad would make these & add purple thin sliced onion,cappicolla ham. Heidi

Bryan said...

Heidi - Albertson's has always made great Italian bread. I like to make my own, but doesn't always come out the way I want it.