Sunday, June 1, 2008

Italian Ham Sandwiches with Roasted Red Peppers and Asparagus

Check Back Later Tonight for Coconut Key Lime Ginger Bars....
For special ocassions, my Italian mother would go to the Italian deli La Prima in Whittier, California. She would order a few dozen baby hard rolls, provolone cheese, and very thinly sliced capicolla (spicy Italian ham). Except she wouldn't call it capicolla. She would call it, and I'm not lying, "Cob O' Cole." I believed that we would go to the Italian deli to pick up our favorite Irish sandwich meat. Since we had a little Irish blood (and English and French) mixed in with our Italian, I couldn't believe our good fortune on finding a deli that would cater to our unique cultural heritage. Our friends adored "Cob O'Cole," too since they consumed it at parties, baptisms, and all our other family celebrations. When I grew up and moved away, I regularly checked delis and sandwich shops for "Cob O'Cole," without any luck. Mom said it was very difficult to find (which is true).
Years later, I made it back to La Prima. Eagerly I ordered a "Cob O'Cole" sandwich just like the kind I grew up on. The bored teenager at the deli counter assured me that they didn't carry "Cob O'Cole" anymore, but she would get someone who had been there a REALLY long time that would know what OLD people (me-all of 26 years old at the time) were talking about. The beautiful Italian gentleman she brought over, impeccably clean in a white cotton apron, was baffled. When I described my lost treasure as a spicy hot pepper treated deli ham, he pointed me to the capicolla. Bingo! I ordered 85 pounds and went home to interrogate my mom. "MOM-Why didn't you tell me that this is capicolla and not Cob O'Cole? Everyone at La Prima thinks I'm an idiot." With just a tinge of smugness, she explained, "Well, that's what I like to call it and that's what I've always called it."
And now you know a secret about my mother. She calls celebrities, pets, ham, son in laws, and various other things whatever she likes, and the rest of us simply adjust. Mom is five feet tall, unfailingly kind, and full of hilarious quirks and a healthy ability to laugh at herself. Having given birth to ten rambunctious children, the least we can do is indulge her "renaming"-and then tease her for it later. At mom's house and now at my house "capicolla" is still, and forever will be "Cob O'Cole."
"Cob O'Cole" Italian Ham Sandwiches with Roasted Red Peppers and Asparagus
Estimated Cost for 6 sandwiches: $6.00
Notes: If you can't find capicolla, (I couldn't this time), mix some crushed red pepper into your mayonnaise before you spread it on the rolls.
1/2 lb. fresh asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 small hard rolls, split
Dijon mustard
1/3 pound capicolla or sliced deli ham
6 thin slices provolone cheese
jarred roasted red peppers
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Place asparagus on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 10 minutes, or until softened and browned in places. Remove from the oven. Coat rolls with mayonnaise and mustard. Cover one side of rolls with provolone and leave the rolls open. Place in oven, just long enough to melt cheese. Layer sandwiches with capicolla, peppers, and asparagus.
Come back tonight for these..... Coconut Key Lime Ginger Bars

Coming Tomorrow:

20 Minute Rosemary Orange Pork Chops with Couscous


Anonymous said...

I LOVE cob o'cole! I found some at a store up our way, (I've looked for years with dissapointing results.) and I felt so nostalgic just having it in my home. I didn't even eat it. But I loved that my family was eating it! I will be back tonight for key lime bars! I wish my computer was sratch and sniff so that I could smell all this delicious food, when I look at your blog! Those key lime bars was sooooo good! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Prudy said...

Thanks fellow Cob'o Cole-ite! I loved your scratch and sniff comment-HEE HEE! All my cool friends used to collect them. My favorite stickers were root beer and strawberry shortcake and skunk. I mean it-it was fun to smell and be repulsed.

Mary Kate said...

Lovely, Lovely. I miss La Prima. I miss a lot of great Eats in California. Cab O'cole sandwiches are delicious "and my friends do say I certainly know how to make a sandwich." Catherine, where did you find that delectable spicy ham at? Thanks Prudy for all the great recipes!

Jim Thomas said...

Looks wonderful! I grew up eating lots of Capicolla! You really have to dig hard to find it, but it's possible. I had a distant cousin from Italy who opened up an Italian Deli in West Covina where on occasion, I'd travel to obtain many of the Italian delicacies I was so accustomed to!

Prudy, you know yer viddles, I'll tell you what! (As they say in the south).

I can't seem to keep enough of those drool clothes handy! (underoos will do!)

Emiline said...

Wow, I don't know how you do all of this cooking! I can't keep up.

I love cob o'cole, too. I haven't found it in the stores, but there's a pizza place that uses it. So...I have to find their source.

rebekka said...

What a cute it!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Hello Prudy! Just came to say it was nice to see you joined the DB! Yesterday I couldn't open your blog, everything was blanc.
Those coconut bars looks divine!

Prudy said...

I don't know why that would be??? Except I was having a little trouble with my site meter. I'm glad you could get here today.

Thanks for visiting, especially because I piggybacked over to your site and I just love all of your handiwork. I'm going to tell all my sisters-I just know they'll love it too!
Good luck finding capicolla. Maybe someday it'll go main stream like prosciutto.
Jimmy T- I'm glad to see there is another use for your underoos. Now you can play super hero and keep the spaghetti off your face. You're breaking up the family!-please tell me you remember when we used to shout that in our Italian accents!
MK-Are you alive? You poor dear. I have total admiration for the patience of my younger sisters amidst the chaos of moves. I really don't know how you do it. I can blow my stack if I have to pack a suitcase for a weekend trip.

Lisa said...

The sandwich looks great! The whole Cob o Cole thing cracks me up. My roommate from college is from a very Italian town and they also say Re Gut (ricotta) and
Gav A Deel (cavatelli). Oh and then my family says Bru Shute(prosciutto)and all the Italian delis know exactly what I'm talikng about :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Prudy, Prudy,
I ran into the son of the owner of La Prima last night. Anthony and Janell were having their first night out without their fifth/nine month old baby. Mike and I were so happy to see them and we both walked away talking about how much we miss La Prima and their delicious rolls.
I have 2lbs. of good old Cob o' Cole in the refrigerator, along with 2 lbs. of Honey Turkey and a pound of Provolone.
This is usual weekly fare at our house, and will be gone before the week ends.
Ralphs' around the corner from us sells cappicola, so we buy it all the time.
Do you know how many times I have ordered it and wondered, 'Why on earth did Mother call it Cob o' Cole. Now I know she did so in true Barbara Renouf style........ simply because she wanted to.

Michal said...

babs is such a crack up. i'm glad you finally solved the cob o'cole mystery.
i miss la prima, too. although their bread changed after the fire that burnt the place down. i don't think that the starter was ever the same. la prima rolls were an institution of my childhood.

Prudy said...

Anonymous Leslie:
I loved your last line. How funny and coincidental about La Prima. I do miss their baby hard rolls. They aren't chewy enough from other places. My friend Dora and I used to go out to lunch at La Prima every Friday on our quick teacher's half hour break. She would never finish her sandwich-and she ordred the baby. I would order the foot long and eat it all by 3. Once I ordered a giant bag of baby rolls and put it on my teacher's desk. One of my students said "Mrs. Mylroie-you sure eat a big lunch." I still chuckle to think of it. You're back on the computer! How did you manage???
By the way, I love eating sandwiches at your house. YOu always have the best fixings.

Prudy said...

That's too bad about the fire and about the rolls. They were absolutely the best. We'll have to go to Provo Gandalfo's-except I don't like it if I don't get the right sandwich maker. I like men to make me a sandwich. They make it sloppy and juicy.

Anonymous said...

I am on my laptop and it only let's me leave a comment anonymously.
I loved your La Prima story, and ordering Cob o 'Cole. It's the perfect story to illustrate Mom and her nuttiness in calling things by what she feels is their proper name.
I laughed that they even found the man with the most experience to help you. So funny.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Oh man. Forget my fried food, these sammies look so good I'm already putting produce market on my to do list today.