Today’s sandwich combines roasted pork loin, provolone cheese, and sauteed broccoli rabe on a Portuguese roll.
Notes: Though it may have been invented in Philadelphia, this sandwich mentally transports me to Atlantic City in the Wintertime, when the frozen gray boardwalk is all but abandoned and the only sound is the endless hum coming from the shimmering Trump casino, its tables filled with gambling Korean tourists. The salty, garlicky, slightly bitter broccoli rabe oozes onto the sliced roast pork, the heat from the vegetables melting the provolone cheese into a satisfyingly drippy mess.
To save time, we use roast pork from the supermarket deli counter, sliced thickly. You’ll only get about 8 slices per one-pound order, but it beats heating up the kitchen by cooking an entire pork roast. Most of the flavor in this sandwich comes from the broccoli rabe, anyway, first blanched briefly to cut the bitterness (and keep the vegetable’s bright green color), then sauteed with plenty of garlic and red pepper flakes.
Garlicky Broccoli Rabe & Roasted Pork
Makes one sandwich
- 1/2 bunch broccoli rabe (called rapini in some supermarkets)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 slices thick-cut deli pork loin
- 1 slice Provolone cheese
- 1 Portuguese roll, split
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise (optional)
Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Trim ends off of broccoli rabe and discard. Roughly chop flowered ends into large pieces. Blanche broccoli rabe in boiling water for one minute, then drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Remove from ice water, and shake off extra water.
In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, combine olive oil, garlic, and red pepper. Saute for one minute, or until garlic begins to turn golden. Add broccoli rabe and saute until all liquid evaporates, about five minutes. Remove broccoli rabe with tongs and set aside.
In the same pan, quickly splash the two slices of pork until heated through, turning often, about a minute total. Meanwhile, spread the two halves of the split roll with butter, and toast cut side-down in a separate skillet until golden brown. Remove roll to a plate, and pile the bottom half of the roll with the hot pork, then the sliced cheese. Top with the hot broccoli rabe, and the top of the roll (spread with mayo, if desired).