I've been fortunate enough to travel to Argentina not only to see the winemaking process at Alamos Winery, but also to sample the gamut of Argentine food, from fine dining to the amazing street food — in particular a sandwich called choripán I had outside a football stadium in Ciudad Lanús. The name itself is a hybrid of “chorizo” and “pan,” the Spanish word for bread, which are its two main ingredients. The one I sampled had the bread toasted alongside the grilled sausages, which allowed the bread to be flavored by all the oils, spices and sausage drippings. This version is a combination of the choripan and an all-American sandwich from my youth: the sloppy Joe. I was incredibly surprised to see provolone used in such abundance in Argentina, so I also made the bottom slice of the sandwich somewhat of a provolone garlic bread. And the cold tomato, avocado and onion topping I've added is inspired by the stuffing for a Mendoza desert dish I tried called trucha en la masa. My advice is to keep the veggies as cold as possible before adding them at the very last minute. The contrast of temperatures and textures is just awesome.
Technique tips: Right after you make the cold veggie mixture that you’re going to chill in the fridge, start your garlic right away so everything is ready at the same time when you need it. If you really want to make the red wine “gravy” a bit more decadent, after deglazing the pan and adding onions, you can throw about 1/4 cup of provolone right into the sauce; it ends up thickening the gravy and holding the chorizo mixture together beautifully.
Swap option: if you can’t find a giant, shareable, scoopable loaf, no problem! Just spread the ingredients out across the slices of bread you have on-hand and just make regular sandwiches.
At least 1 hour in advance of making the sandwich: In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes, red onion and avocado together with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the vinegar and the sea salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The veggie mixture should be very cold when put into the sandwich.2.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Slice off the top third of the garlic head to expose the cloves and place the head on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wrap the garlic tightly. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the garlic is soft enough to squeeze out of the skins. Set aside for spreading on the bread.3.
Heat a nonstick pan over high heat until water drops skitter across the surface. Pour in enough olive oil to coat the pan generously. Add the julienned white onion (reserving the finely chopped onion), the crushed garlic cloves, a pinch of sea salt, the red pepper flakes, and the chorizo. Cook until the chorizo is browned and the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes.4.
Add the 1/2 cup of wine to the pan and cook until nearly evaporated, stirring constantly and not allowing the meat to stick. Add the paprika and stir to combine.5.
Halve the bread loaf lengthwise and scoop out the inside of the top and bottom half. Brush the bread shells with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Use the back of a fork to spread equal amounts of the roasted garlic on each half. Top the bottom half with half of the provolone cheese. Toast the bread in the oven until the cheese on the bottom half is melted but not browned, approximately 3 minutes. Spoon the chorizo mixture on top of the melted cheese.6.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup of wine to the chorizo pan and deglaze over high heat. Add the finely chopped white onion and cook, stirring, until all the burnt bits on the bottom of the pan have been incorporated and the sauce begins to reduce and thicken. Spoon the onion mixture onto the chorizo mixture and top with the remaining slices of provolone.7.
Turn the oven to broil. Slide the filled sandwich bottom under the broiler for approximately 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browned.8.
Spoon the cold vegetable mixture into the top half of the sandwich and close the sandwich. Secure with toothpicks. Slice the sandwich into 2- to 3-inch portions and serve immediately.