The Dish: 'The Dark Horse' pistachio mortadella hoagie from Breezy's Deli and Market

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Friday, April 26, 2024
The Dish: 'The Dark Horse' pistachio mortadella hoagie from Breezy's Deli and Market
Chef Chad Durkin from Breezy's Deli and Market makes an Italian-inspired hoagie with pistachio mortadella called The Dark Horse.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- We're elevating our at-home hoagie with tips from the mastermind behind the brand new Breezy's Deli and Market on Washington Avenue in the city's Point Breeze section.

Owner Chad Durkin explains his latest space like this: What would happen if a chef was behind the menu at Wawa?

He's showing us an Italian-inspired hoagie that will make your next sandwich feel like a gourmet meal. He calls it: The Dark Horse.

"This has pistachio mortadella with arugula, burrata, our house made pistachio pesto, and marinated onions," Durkin says. "It's a such a simple sandwich."

If you haven't had mortadella, it's like an Italian bologna. This kind has pistachios embedded in the meat.

The Dish: 'The Dark Horse' pistachio mortadella hoagie from Breezy's Deli and Market

Durkin says mortadella tends to be the dark horse at the deli counter. This, he says, is mortadella's moment.

To complement the pistachios in the mortadella, he makes a homemade pistachio pesto. This involves unsalted and roasted pistachios and chopped, raw green spring garlic.

Blend that before you move on.

Now, add fresh herbs. Durkin says go for the wilty ones that are on their last leg. Here, we use things like parsley, chives and basil.

"Some of these are left over from the garden. Some are about to get tossed, but don't throw it out! This can go into your pesto. We use everything! This is good stuff. Why waste it?" he says.

Now, you start adding olive oil to the running blender. Give it a taste before you season and add salt to taste.

Next, start building the sandwich - and use the good bread. Chad's son Desi helps with that.

"We start with our hoagie juice," Durkin says.

This is something he came up with at Porco's Porchetteria, his sandwich shop across the street, as a way to reuse the pickle brine.

"It's our gardeneria pickle juice with olive oil, herbs, a little black pepper," he says.

At home, you can buy hoagie dressing or use olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Now, drizzle some good olive oil and shake some herbs.

"This is our little herb blend, which is basically Italian herbs with some garlic powder," he says.

The real star of the show is the stracciatella.

"I take our mozzarella that we make at Porco's, I shred it and add a little heavy cream, lemon zest, a little vinegar, salt and pepper," Durkin says.

You can get yours at any Italian deli.

Top with fresh arugula, some sliced tomatoes and then add your mortadella. Get it sliced thin.

Dress with a little more olive oil, hoagie juice and either pickled onions or finely shaved raw onions and give one more shake of the dried herbs.

Finally, slather on your homemade pesto.

Tada: The Dark Horse!

The Dark Horse Pistachio Mortadella Hoagie Recipe

Ingredients for Hoagie Pesto:

  • 4oz or 1/2 cup of roasted and unsalted pistachios
  • 1/4 cup green spring garlic OR 3 garlic cloves
  • 6 cups of any herbs, including basil
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Blend all ingredients together

Directions for Hoagie Assembly:

  • 10 inch roll with sesame seeds
  • Hoagie juice (sub: olive oil and red vinegar)
  • Olive oil
  • Burrata spread
  • Dried Italian herbs
  • 5 oz. Paper thin mortadella
  • Fresh arugula
  • Marinated red onions OR paper thin sliced red onion
  • Pesto drizzle


Bringing Breezy's to Point Breeze's food desert

When it came to designing the hoagie menu at Breezy's, Durkin says he didn't want to reinvent the wheel.

"I just wanted to disrupt it a little bit," he laughs.

He says opening day earlier this month was "an overwhelming success."

"The crazy part is that at one point, we actually had an hour and a half wait for a hoagie," Durkin says. "Isn't that wild?"

It was all in Durkin's vision.

"We're in Point Breeze and I just saw a need in this food desert," he says. "I really wanted to build a community place where you can get local groceries, you can get produce and hoagies."

Porco's is right across the street, once home to his former bakery called Kermit's.

"I'm really a pastry chef pretending to be a chef," he laughs.

Durkin worked with "The Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro for years.

"I was making massive amounts of cakes and pastries and doing r&d for Buddy's organization," Durkin explains. "We were opening up bakeries. I was part of his operations and really trying to develop his line that exists today. It was a very big part of me."

Becoming a father brought him back to Washington Avenue in 2019.

At Breezy's, he's also making fresh smoothies with that produce he's stocking and lining the shelves with products made by Philly makers: from cheese to sauces and oils.

"When you come in, I want you to feel easy breezy," he says.