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How to make a classic New England grinder sandwich

A New England Classic: Learn How to Make a Grinder

by Regan
This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links. Please see my disclosure page for more information.

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This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media®, and  Hillshire Farm®, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #HillshireNaturals http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

Very few things bring me back to a time and place like food does. I’ve never felt that as much as I do now that I no longer live in my native Connecticut. When most people think of New England foods they probably think of clambakes, Maine lobster, and clam chowder. While those foods are very New England and are near and dear to my heart, they can also be easily found anywhere in the United States. However, there are a few lesser known foods that can only be found in New England. New Haven pizza, steamer clams, and grinder sandwiches to name a few.

While they are very similar, I recently called the sub the grinder’s underachieving cousin and I stand by that. We haven’t been able to find a sandwich in Colorado that even comes close to the grinders that we grew up with so we have tried our hand at making them at home instead. This, my friends, is how to make a grinder.

How to make a classic New England grinder sandwich

How to make a classic New England grinder sandwich

The one thing that makes or breaks a grinder is the bread. Finally, I found rolls that looked and felt very much like grinder rolls on a recent shopping trip to Safeway. Could it really be? For the first time in the three years that I’ve been away from New England, I had as close to a classic grinder as I think I’m going to get away from home!

A grinder roll closely resembles Italian bread, but the inside is chewier and the outside has a nice crust on it. Finding the perfect bread is a must then the rest of the sandwich will fall into place. 

How to make a classic New England grinder sandwich

How to make a classic New England grinder sandwich

Slice the roll so that it’s open but not all the way; you want all of the ingredients to stay in the sandwich instead of all over your lap. Liberally coat the bread with oil, then add a light sprinkle of oregano. Some people like mayo instead, but I prefer extra-virgin olive oil. 

While shopping at Safeway, I noticed that there was a $0.75 off digital coupon available for Hillshire Farm® Naturals deli meats. I was excited to see that it’s minimally processed and free of artificial ingredients and nitrates so I bought some ham and turkey to use for my grinders along with some Provolone cheese. 

Not only did I have a coupon which was a great incentive on its own, Hillshire Farm® is offering a “Love It or We’ll Eat It” Guarantee for those who try the product. They will donate a lunch to someone in need if you “Love it” or provide a rebate.

How to make a classic New England grinder sandwich

Now it’s time for the lettuce and tomato. One of the important parts of a true grinder is to shred the lettuce.   I use romaine lettuce, but you could use iceberg if you prefer. If using romaine cut off the dark green leafy top and set it aside for a salad and thinly slice the lighter, more crisp lettuce closest to the core. 

Once you’ve added your lettuce and tomato, drizzle the top with more extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, then sprinkle more oregano, salt, and course ground pepper.

How to make a classic New England grinder sandwich

There you have it: a classic New England grinder. Similar to a sub, but this Connecticut native insists that there is really no comparison. 

What food most makes you think of home? 

How to make a classic New England grinder sandwich

 

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6 comments

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6 comments

Roger Greenlaw May 16, 2016 - 9:43 am

being a fellow Connecticut Yankee, I don’t remember the meat being ham or turkey. It was always Genoa salami and/or prosciutto meats in a Grinder.

Reply
Regan May 17, 2016 - 7:04 am

Maybe different parts of the state have different ideas of what a grinder is. I was born and raised in the Mystic/Stonington area and we always referred to all subs, regardless of the kind, as grinders. It doesn’t matter if it’s genoa, ham, or even tuna – they’re all grinders if they’re on a long roll.

Reply
Mark Roberts June 29, 2016 - 8:00 pm

You’re spot on Regan. Heading down to Groton Long Point for July and can’t wait. One added clarification, you must slice tomatoes and onions paper thin – meat is laid out flat to hold lettuce and tomatoes as well as catch extra olive oil.

Reply
Regan June 29, 2016 - 8:05 pm

Nice! My family is from Groton Long Point, Noank, Stonington, and Mystic. Enjoy and have a proper grinder for me.

Reply
Rocco Basilica December 19, 2016 - 7:27 am

I’m originally from New London and grew up in the old Italian neighborhood near Shaw St. where the grinder was born. Your right the bread makes it or breaks it, plus the extra virgin olive oil and the fresh coarse ground pepper. The red wine vinegar came later and still prefer my grinder without it. I now live in Florida and found the chain Jersey”s Mike to be very close to the old grinder of New London.

Regan December 19, 2016 - 9:29 am

Nice to “meet” you! I was born in New London and grew up in Stonington and Mystic.

We have Jersey Mike’s here in CO and I agree that they’re pretty good. It’s the closest we’ve found outside of CT.

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