For many years I’ve been putting together a little Super Bowl party with a few friends. Each year, after the Championship games decide who is in the big game, I begin to put together a menu based on what two cities are represented. I then try to find foods that are unique or connected to each city; this is nothing too original and I’m sure many others do the same thing, but we have a good time with this as opposed to going to a crowded, loud sports bar. Most years it is fairly easy to come up with a menu: when the Patriots and the Giants played a couple of years ago it was a big pot of chowder and grilled New York Strip steaks. For Philadelphia and New England I made cheesesteaks and chowder; St. Louis Rams and the Patriots… barbequed ribs and chowder. Thanks to the New England Patriots run in the 2000’s, I now have the chowder recipe down pat.
Last year I made a seafood gumbo for the New Orleans Saints, but coming up with something unique to Indianapolis was a bit problematic, so I went to my “ace in the hole,” Google, and found that in Indianapolis they make a breaded pork sandwich. Something like a veal cutlet sandwich only you use pork. It is pretty darn good.
This year’s game is between two storied franchises in the history of the game, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers, and should be a great football game. I figure for the Packers I will have to do something that Lambeau Field, the Packers stadium, is well known for and that is any kind of sausage. With that I’ll make some beer cheese soup, since cheese and beer are the other two things Wisconsin is known for.
For the Steelers, as anyone that has ever been to Pittsburgh would know, there can only be one thing: one of the greatest sandwich creations you could ever imagine, the Primanti sandwich. Now, I grew up about a hundred miles north of Pittsburgh, so I’m very familiar with Primanti Brothers Restaurant and never miss a chance to visit there when I’m in the neighborhood, which unfortunately isn’t very often these days. In days past we’d go down to catch a Pirates or Steelers game and invariable stop at Primantis and fill up on one of these huge sandwiches. This creations starts with two thick slices of fresh Italian bread, then you choose what large portion of meat or meats and cheeses you want to add. Now so far, this isn’t much different than most sandwiches, but what sets this one apart from the rest is the handful of French fries, yes French fries, and secret recipe homemade coleslaw that is then piled very high on this giant sandwich. This may sound a little strange and the word “little” should never be used when describing a Primanti, but it’s the fries that make this sandwich so unique and delicious. The only other thing this sandwich needs is a cold bottle of Iron City Beer.
One of the great things about the many food shows on cable these days is that they search out these unique, local foods and expose them to rest of the foodies around the country. I don’t know who will make the Super Bowl next year, but if you have any foods that are local favorites, post a comment on this blog. I may need some new ideas for a future Super Bowl…Go Steelers!
Ken Amendola (former Pennsylvanian), Wine Supervisor, North Florida