It’s that time of year again…National Bologna Day! Every October 24 bologna lovers across the country pay homage to this all-American deli meat with their classic childhood favorite–the fried bologna sandwich. This year I got the opportunity to take the fried bologna sandwich to another level on Charlotte Today, a live local entertainment and lifestyle show. I wanted to glam up the bologna sandwich a bit for the show so I decided to introduce bologna’s sexy Italian cousin mortadella, she’s got a little fat on her but she’s full of spice and flavor.
A bistro sandwich seemed like the way to go. I served it with a fresh mixed greens salad and finished it with an unexpected pièce de résistance, a poached egg. I made the dish a few times for my family so I’d be prepared for the day of the show. However, I should have also practiced how to spell bologna. As a child of the 70s I grew up with the Oscar Meyer Bologna song. It should be embedded in my DNA and I should be able to recall it on demand. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way on the show.
Host Colleen Odegaard and her guest host Eugene Robinson, former NFL football player, were excited about National Bologna Day and the dish I was going to make. They easily sang the part of the Bologna Song that spells out bologna. Naturally I thought that I could spell it too. WRONG! They had the luxury of a teleprompter. I had the assistance of my brain and memory. Bad idea.
My segment started without a hitch and went well until I wanted to spell b-o-l-o-g-n-a. I tried to sing the song in my head while I spelled bologna, but my head was singing too fast and I couldn’t keep up. Then part of my brain got confused and I heard, “Why does boloney have a ‘G’ in it?” The other part of my brain screammed, “JUST SPELL THE WORD!! IT”S B-O-L-O-G-N-A…B-O-L-O-G-N-A!!!!” It was crazy!
As expected, my dish was a success. I had a great time and I can’t wait to go back to Charlotte Today. And trust me, that will be the last time I try to spell on live television.
Fried Bologna Bistro Sandwich, Cuisine at Home
Makes 4 servings
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound deli-sliced beef bologna or mortadella, cut in half
4 slices French bread, cut 1-inch thick diagonally
Coarse ground black pepper
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 ounces deli-sliced provolone
1 (5-ounce) bag spring mesclun mix
2 green onions, chopped (green part only)
Tomato Vinaigrette, recipe follows
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
Preheat oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring a large skillet with high sides filled halfway with water to a simmer over medium heat.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bologna and cook until golden and the edges are crispy, about 2 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate.
Brush one side of each slice of bread with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the bread on the baking sheet, oil side-up, and broil until toasted, 2-3 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and leave broiler on.
Spread 1 teaspoon Dijon on each bread slice. Divide the bologna and cheese evenly among the slices. Place the sandwiches on the baking sheet and broil the cheese melts and begins to brown, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the mesclun and chopped green onions with a little vinaigrette and divide among 4 plates. Season with salt and pepper. Place a sandwich on each serving of salad.
Add the vinegar to the simmering water. Crack each egg in a small bowl, and carefully drop the eggs into the water. Poach until the whites are set and the yolks are set but still slightly runny, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove each egg from the skillet with a slotted spoon and gently blot with paper towel.
Place an egg on each sandwich.