The Melting Point

The Melting Point

Food & Drink

The Melting Point

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grilled sandwich
Photo: Rich Products Food Service

(Food Management) A cook slathers melted butter on a crusty baguette, tops it with Swiss cheese and thinly sliced ham, hits it with a dab of grainy mustard, adds another slice of bread, turns up the griddle, then stands back and lets it sizzle. It’s lunchtime in America.

The deli sandwich — a longtime center of lunchtime gravity — becomes more than the sum of its parts when taken to the melting point.

“When you add heat, it makes the sandwich sexy,” says Scott Berlin, executive chef at UC Santa Cruz. “It’s not ‘just a sandwich’ anymore.”

Fire-roasted subs are served in several locations at UC Santa Cruz’s all-you-care-to-eat dining halls. Cooks send standard subs — Southwest turkey, steak and cheese — through impinger ovens, creating bubbly beauties.

Currently, at select locations on campus, Berlin is testing an idea for turning hot deli sandwiches into a snack or side dish option. Larger hot deli sandwiches, on big slices of oval-shaped foccacia (24 inches long!), are grilled, then cut into slices, allowing 12 portions to be made at once, then placed on the line as small bites.

Hot deli sandwiches are also a good place to experiment with more global flavors and trends, along with the classics, and Berlin is looking to the streets (California’s ubiquitous food trucks) for inspiration. (Read more)

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