Good morning. An Italian hero (above) is one of the great American sandwiches, whether you call it a sub or a hoagie, a grinder or a wedge. Most people buy Italian heroes at their local hero shop — their Lioni, their Defonte’s, their Leo’s Latticini — because local hero shops are often better at making heroes than civilians like you and me.
Often, but not always. A couple of years ago, Gabrielle Hamilton wrote an article for The Times Magazine about making six-foot heroes at home, offering not so much a recipe as a philosophy, accompanied by advice that I took to heart. “Build first, season last,” she wrote. “Hinge the bread like a book that lies open on its spine, rather than cutting all the way through. Have your ingredients ready, and put your condiments — mayo, oil and vinegar — into squeeze bottles as they do at delis. That way, you don’t smear and upset the beautiful work you’ve just done neatly shingling out your fillings.”
I read that and knocked a sandwich out of the park and now make (somewhat shorter than six-foot) sandwiches all the time. They make for a great meal on days like this one, when there’s plenty to watch and cheer for on the screens: say, tonight’s Super Bowl between Kansas City and Philadelphia, or the Metropolitan Opera’s free stream of “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” Terence Blanchard’s adaptation of Charles M. Blow’s memoir. I hope you’ll join me with a hero either way.
As for the rest of the week. …
Ali Slagle’s new recipe for citrusy lentil and sweet potato soup smartly uses chard in two ways: The leaves are a silky accompaniment to the beans and sweet potatoes, and the stems are quick-pickled to use as a topping with an acidic crunch.
If you’ve discovered the joys of kimchi grilled cheese, you’ll thrill to Hetty McKinnon’s next-level iteration: cheesy French toast with kimchi. The bread gets soaked in egg and scallions before you add the cheese and kimchi. It all griddles into excellence.
A vegan ode to the cumin lamb served at Xi’an Famous Foods in New York, Hetty’s cumin tofu stir-fry could well become a weeknight go-to for anyone interested in big flavor, easily made. I make like one of our subscribers, who recommended adding roasted cashews at the end for heft and texture.
And then I’ll welcome the weekend with Ali Slagle’s ace recipe for pastrami-spiced steak with charred cabbage, which she makes with strip steak, starting the meat out in a cold pan and cooking over medium heat. No smoky kitchen!
Thousands and thousands more recipes to think about making this week are waiting for you at New York Times Cooking, at least if you have a subscription. (Subscriptions are important. They allow us to keep doing this work that we love.) If you haven’t already, I hope you will subscribe today. Thanks so much.
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Now, it’s a far cry from anything to do with cooking, but David Remnick interviewed Salman Rushdie for The New Yorker this week, Rushdie’s first interview since he was near-fatally stabbed last year. Make sure to spend some time with the Richard Burbridge photograph of Rushdie that accompanies the prose. It’s breathtaking.
I can’t resist: True crime from Canada, by Adam Leith Gollner in Vanity Fair.
A good Instagram follow: @whatisnewyork.
Finally, to end almost where we started, here’s David Bowie singing “Heroes” live in 1978. Enjoy that — as well as the ones you eat — and I’ll see you next week.