Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Muffaletta For Picnics

This family-sized sandwich can be made with cold cuts, meat salad or as a vegetarian meal.  For picnics choose the version without mayonnaise and bring a knife and a thin cutting surface so that you can slice the sandwich when the picnic begins! The recipe, with an entire picnic menu was recently published on The Annapolis Sound.

Bread: buy and uncut loaf: choose sourdough, marble rye, Russian pumpernickel, wheat, round or rectangle
¼ lb. cappocolo or other Italian cured ham sliced thin
¼ lb Italian hard salami
you may add other favorite cured meats
¼ lb provolone cheese, sliced
¼ lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
Roasted red bell peppers (you may buy these in a jar or roast them*)
¼ cup Greek or Niçoise olives, pitted and sliced
½ cup black olives, pitted and sliced
1/4  cup of capers
½ cup fresh basil leaves
1 minced shallot
salt, pepper
olive oil

Make the olive salad by slicing all the olives and tossing them with the minced shallot, ¼ teaspoon olive oil, the capers, salt and pepper.

Prepare the bread by making a horizontal slice to take the top off the bread. Keep the top of the loaf. Don’t eat it or throw it out! Next hollow out the loaf, using your fingers or a spoon.  Set the bread pieces aside. 

Brush the inside of the loaf lightly with olive oil.
Layer, covering the entire surface of the bread in this order:
half the basil leaves,
Now add the following in layers, covering the previous layer and pressing down firmly.
half the olive salad,
mozzarella cheese slices
ham, then salami
provolone slices
roasted bell pepper slices
the final half of the basil
the last of the olive salad. The inside of the loaf should be full. If it isn’t, add more cheese or what ever you have left.

Brush the inside of the top of the loaf of bread with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Place the top of the loaf back on the bread. Using yards of plastic wrap, wrap the muffaletta well and refrigerate overnight or for a few hours by placing the entire thing in a bowl and putting a plate on top of it to sort of press it down.  You are trying to squish the filling down so it stays together when the sandwich is later cut.

Take it to the picnic as it is and slice it when you are ready to eat. 

1. Use chicken or tuna salad to replace the meat and cheese. Instead of basil, layer on marinated artichoke hearts. Olive salad is wonderful with chicken or tuna salad so don’t leave that out of this version!

2. To create a vegetarian version, omit the ham and salami.  Use a variety of sliced cheeses, alternating with pears pitted and sliced paper thin.

*to roast bell peppers: heat broiler to high while you are preparing the peppers. Cut each pepper in half. Remove and discard seed core and the stem. Press cut side of pepper down onto a baking sheet until it flattens a bit. Roast until the skin is blackened and your kitchen fills up with the warm, fragrant, exotic aroma of roasting peppers.

Don't discard the bread that you take from the center of the loaf! Instead make bread pudding or bread salad with it!

1 comment:

  1. I should NOT have read this when I am hungry. Sounds amazing and I have to try it soon.