“A taste of Italy, without the need for a passport.” That’s how Jimmy John’s describes its new limited-time offering, the Caprese Salami Pesto sandwich. Taking its cues from a classic, this new menu item features salami, fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinegar glaze, pesto, slow-roasted tomatoes, onion, mayo, dried oregano, and basil, finished with a little dash of oil.
The fresh mozzarella is the big draw here. Its use is on the rise at other chain restaurants as well; Panera and Subway have both recently showcased it, to decent effect. As one of the core ingredients of a Caprese salad, it has a decidedly more upscale feel than the usual deli sliced provolone that Jimmy John’s offers. But is that enough to make the Caprese Salami Pesto sandwich a worthy offering? Jimmy John’s furnished us with a sample to find out.
I’ve had plenty of Caprese-inspired dishes in my day, and they always translate pretty well; it’s a set of ingredients that’s hard to get wrong. But there’s always one hurdle to clear for perfect execution: Fresh mozzarella can be—don’t hate me!—pretty bland.
The amount of fresh mozzarella on this sandwich is surprisingly generous. The slices are thick, almost to the point where you can’t taste the salami underneath it all. That’s where the balsamic glaze comes in to help in each bite, building back some of the flavor that the cheese crowds out. The pesto, while visible, didn’t seem to make much of an appearance in terms of flavor.
Enter the slow-roasted tomatoes. These things are cooked down enough to take some of the moisture out of them, which gives them a terrific, almost meaty texture. But they’re also seasoned with a pop of acid, which lends each bite a lot of extra flavor. The issue is that there’s not enough of them, which brings me to my next point.
If you’re going to order the Jimmy John’s Caprese Salami Pesto sandwich, ask for extra slow-roasted tomatoes. It’s an option if you’re ordering it online (just click on the “Customize Sandwich” dropdown and hit the “Xtra” button), or you can ask for some in person as your sandwich is assembled. The website doesn’t charge for extra tomatoes, and your sandwich will be much better off for it. You’ll get some extra tomato punch with every bite, and the raw onions help tame the tartness.
This sandwich is not terribly adventurous or over-the-top, and that’s its virtue. While Jimmy John’s has had better limited time offerings than this one, sometimes you want a break from your turkey or roast beef routine, and the Caprese Salami Pesto sandwich is definitely something you haven’t had from JJ’s before. You just have to get it with a little extra zip. All you have to do is ask.