While steeped in tradition and adhering to a certain code, a Sangweech becomes something more — and it holds a special place for those who reside within the Sangweech region (New Jersey, NYC, Long Island).
We briefly touched on this subject after a trip to Fiore’s in Hoboken, NJ — but it has been long overdue for a more thorough investigation. Foodiggity proudly presents The Anatomy of a Sangweech.
- Italian, obviously. Occasionally a Latin or Greek sandwich might sneak under the Sangweech radar.
- Must contain proteins that once had parents. A vegetarian has never had a Sangweech, and we feel sorry for them.
- Contains cheese that ends in a vowel. Mozzarella, provolone, parmigiano. The stinkier the better.
- One choice of bread. White hero roll, or similar. Either made in-house or by a nearby bakery. Wheats and multi-grains do not a Sangweech make.
- Made by a guy who cannot help but say ‘sangweech’.
First and foremost, a Sangweech must contain meat. And the ultimate Sangweech usually has at least two parts pig protein. Now get ready for this… bacon is not one of them.
The list of acceptable pig proteins is as follows; salami, prosciutto, capocollo, soppressata, finocchiona, lardo, pepperoni, mortadella, bologna.
Roast beef, chicken, and turkey are acceptable meats — but these non-pig proteins rely on certain variables to qualify it as a Sangweech, e.g., location, condiments, etc.
Again, a cheese worthy of inclusion in a Sangweech must end in a vowel. If using mozzarella, it must be made in-house. Provolone should not be the rubbery, semi-translucent slices that most are familiar with, but rather cut into small wedges for texture’s sake.
Also there is no melting allowed, unless included in a ‘parm’ of some kind. More on that later.
Condiments also become important when assembling a certified Sangweech — but choose them wisely. Some acceptable enhancers are as follows:
- Homemade vinaigrette, or oil/vinegar combo
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Peppers. Roasted, vinegar, or fryer; preferably made in-house.
Attempting to use the following condiments on a Sangweech could get you whacked in certain parts of Jersey — or at the very least, you will be referred to as a ‘maddagon’.
- Mayonnaise. Save that for your ‘grinder’ and head back to Connecticut.
- Salad dressing of any kind. Yes, even Italian.
- Yellow mustard. Yellow mustard is unnecessary for any reason.
There are a few exceptions to some of the rules stated above. In regards to ‘parms’, e.g. chicken, meatball, or eggplant parmigiana sandwiches — the location becomes a crucial factor. For instance, a meatball parm ordered from Vitamia & Sons in Lodi, NJ is a Sangweech. A meatball parm from Rick’s Deli in Bernardsville is not.
So there you have it… The rules and regulations that make a Sangweech something special. At least it is to those who grew up with the term — especially those who truly cannot pronounce ‘sandwich’. Go get one.