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A Sandwich a Day: Italian Salami from Little T American Baker in Portland, OR
In this great country of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
Grinders—named so because of the effort it took to chew through the hard, crusty bread used in the original version—often get overlooked in this day of more experimental sandwiches. A shame, because a well-prepared grinder can be just as if not more satisfying than any overindulgent chef's creation gussied up with more exotic fillings.
The Italian Salami ($8) at Little T American Baker is a true grinder (in that you're chewing a hard-crusted bread). That baguette, dubbed the "short skinny" and baked in-house by owner/baker Tim Healea, boasts a soft, airy crumb beneath its golden shell—it really is fantastic.
Healea won the silver medal as part of the 2002 U.S. team at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in Paris (he knows his stuff). His breads are among the best in Portland; just ask Pearl Bakery, where he was the head baker for years and Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen, for whom he was a consultant.
What comes between that magnificent bread ain't no slouch, either. Thinly shaved discs of salty, potent Italian salami rest beneath a crown of semi-sharp provolone, sweet peppers, field greens, and a garlicky aioli that pairs perfectly with each ingredient. At first it doesn't seem like much in the meat department but one bite in and it's obvious that it was constructed with balance in mind. True sandwich harmony.