December 7, 2006

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Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
Sausage Heaven takes you to Miami and New Orleans
By SusanReilly news@hippopress.com

Far from the smoky jazz of New Orleans and the thumping Latino vibe of Miami, muffoletta and cubano sandwiches have arrived in the Queen City.

Inspired by the sandwiches he ate in New Orleans and Miami, Marc Rousseau did extensive research on the history and flavors of these classics and added them to his menu at Sausage Heaven in Manchester.

Despite the lack of sausage in either sandwich, the standout flavors of the muffoletta and cubano made him explore ways to get the flavors so far from the original sources.

The muffoletta ($6.99 for a half, $11.99 for a whole) is a Sicilian sandwich served on a 10-inch round of bread, sort of like ciabatta, but that is truly unique to the sandwich. According to Rousseau, the bread has to be very dense, to stand up to the olive oil. Also, it has an olive salad that lends to the savory appeal.

Rousseau found a local baker who would make him authentic muffoletta bread and he perfected the olive salad recipe.

The muffoletta is piled high with Mortadella, ham, hard salami, hot Cappicola ham, provolone and mozzarella and the olive salad.

For the cubano ($7.50), Rousseau experimented with mojo sauce and has come up with a recipe that is authentic.

The cubano is filled with roasted, marinated pork sliced thin, layers of ham, sliced pickles and Swiss cheese along with the mojo sauce before it is toasted.

So far, I have had people from New Orleans and south Florida come in and try the sandwiches and they love them. They have told me that I have authentic recipes here, he said.

Sausage Heaven serves sandwiches Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. It is best if you phone in your order.

Also, all sandwiches from Sausage Heaven come with a huge pickle that is perfection.

What is a cubano sandwich?
The cubano sandwich, also known as the Cuban, is a sandwich in south Florida, where many Cubans have settled since the early 20th century. These tasty, toasted sandwiches can be found in most restaurants in Miami, but the best places to buy them are from the street corner snack bars, called loncherias.

An authentic cubano is a submarine-style layering of ham, roast pork, cheese, and pickle between a sliced length of Cuban bread. The key to a great, versus a good, Cuban sandwich lies in the grilling. A great Cuban sandwich is grilled in a sandwich press (called a plancha) until the ham, pork, and pickles have warmed in their own steam (the steady application of heat and weight fuse the meat, cheese, and bread into a delectable and compact treat).

What is a muffoletta?
Muffoletta sandwiches are found all over New Orleans from small grocery markets to delis and pool halls. The muffoletta is a Sicilian sandwich made with a dense, round, 10-inch loaf filled with Italian salami, a unique olive-type salad, cheese, Italian ham, and freshly minced garlic. The key ingredient is the olive salad that gives the sandwich its unique flavor. An authentic muffoletta sandwich must always be served at room temperature, never toasted; it is considered blasphemy to heat the sandwich, said Rousseau.

Sausage Heaven
33 Elm St., Manchester, 606-6657
Hours: Lunch is served Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The store is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ,and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m..



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Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
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