Hot Plate: Five mortadella sandwiches you need to eat right now

Hot Plate: Five mortadella sandwiches you need to eat right now

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Mortadella—bologna’s Italian cousin—is having a moment. The humble cold-cut, silky with pork fat, seasoned with spices and sometimes studded with pistachios, is enjoying a renaissance on Toronto menus. As a city, we seem to have hit peak mortadella, with the options ranging from simple and restrained to decked out with elaborate accoutrements. Here, five mortadella sandwiches you need to try right now.

The one on focaccia

1 Nostalgia seems to be driving the comeback. Take the version at Mattachioni, which has been on the menu since the Junction Triangle trattoria opened in late 2015. Owner and chef David Mattachioni affectionately calls this panini a “school lunch sandwich.” It comes on squishy house-made focaccia dotted with sun-dried tomatoes, and it’s topped with fresh mozzarella and a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil. $11. 1617 Dupont St., 416-519-1010,

The one with spicy ranch

2 Birreria Volo’s take is an ode to co-owner Julian Morana’s childhood. It’s stacked high on a sesame bun from Blackbird Baking Co., finished with spicy ranch from PG Clucks and topped with a pickle spear. “Growing up in an Italian family, mortadella has always been a thing,” he says. “I wanted to create a three-, four-bite sandwich that you can just crush and move on with your day.” It’s arguably more than a four-bite affair, but glorious in its simplicity. $9. 612 College St., 416-531-7373,

The one at a wine bar

3 At Bar Piquette, Grant van Gameren’s Queen West wine bar, mortadella is served on a soft, mildly sweet milk bun from Petite Thuet. Shaved fennel gives it a welcome hit of freshness, and it’s finished with a dollop of tangy garlic mayo. General manager Ellen Shrybman says she was inspired by a year spent in northwest Italy, where she ate a mortadella sandwich almost every single day. $5. 1084 Queen St. W., 416-533-7745,

The one on a cornetto

4 Mortadella is sometimes studded with pistachios, but Gusto 501′s executive chef Elio Zannoni prefers it without, since the nuts tend to tear the thinly sliced meat. Instead, he adorns delicate slices of mortadella with pistachio brown butter, as well as taleggio cream and a sharp, salty mix of castelvetrano olives and peperoncini. It all sits atop a cornetto—an Italian pastry similar to a croissant, but softer and made with less butter. $10. 501 King St. E., 416-477-5647,

The one with sub sauce

5 The Morty at Primrose Bagel Co. is a little more adventurous. It’s loaded onto a sesame bagel, then topped with turmeric-spiked spicy mayo, red pepper relish made with caraway and honey, house-made sub sauce, tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. When asked why mortadella made it onto the menu, co-owner Jesse Rapoport simply said “because it’s delicious.” Nostalgia is definitely bubbling in the city’s collective unconscious, but the mystery of the mortadella craze might come down to just that—it’s one delish deli meat. $11. 317A Oakwood Ave., 416-546-9906,