Roast Broccoli Hero Sandwiches. Picture: Washington Post
Polony has always been one of the most accessible processed meats. It was reasonably priced, making it the first choice for many households when it came to preparing work and school lunches. 

Sliced, grated, fried, it worked just fine for most South Africans. That is until the news that cold, processed meats like polony, viennas, russian sausages and hams, had the listeria bacteria. Millions of people had to dump the products, returning them to supermarkets for refunds. 

Even the Department of Basic Education stepped in, issuing urgent alerts to schools and parents over the purchase of foods such as russians, polony, sausages, viennas and other cold meats largely consumed by pupils as part of their packed lunches.

So what options do we have? Well, there are many and they are free of any processed meats.  They are mostly easy to do, healthier and of course, delicious. 

Roast Broccoli Hero Sandwiches (Serves 4)
Roast Broccoli Hero Sandwiches PICTURE: THE WASHINGTON POST

1 cup bread-and-butter pickles, drained, plus 1/2 cup of their brine
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons Asian chilli sauce, such as Sriracha, sambal oelek or gochujang
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 medium head broccoli (about 570g), chopped into florets, stalk thinly sliced into coins
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Four 15cm French bread rolls
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup fried onions
57 ricotta salata, shaved (you can also use feta cheese)


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Combine the pickles and brine, garlic, ginger, chilli sauce and toasted sesame oil in a medium bowl. Marinate at room temperature while you make the sandwiches.
Toss together the broccoli, oil and salt on a large baking sheet; roast until the broccoli is bright green, is starting to brown on the edges and is easily pierced with a fork but not soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool.
Position an oven rack 10 to 15 cm from the broiler element; preheat the broiler.
Split the rolls, leaving them hinged. Open them and set on a large baking sheet and lightly toast under the broiler, 1 to 2 minutes; watch closely to keep them from burning.
To assemble the sandwiches, lightly spread mayonnaise on the insides of the rolls. Divide the roasted broccoli evenly among them. Use a slotted spoon to lift the pickles out of their marinade and evenly distribute them on the broccoli, then layer the fried onions and ricotta on top.
Serve the pickle marinade with the sandwiches, for dipping.

Recipes from The Washington Post