Sandwiches, Finger Food, Appetizers · What's for Lunch?

Muffaletta success!

I’m Back! Just as promised. I bet you thought I took a spill the other day while feeding…(refer to previous post). Nope, I managed to stay upright, but as I said, it was glare ice outside. I Moved slow, and made it….sigh of relief. I Managed to actually feed the crew some hay outside.

It’s February in Wisconsin. You learn to roll with the punches (and the weather). Rain, sleet, freezing rain (it’s the same), snow, then melt, then freeze. It could be 40 degrees in the morning, and 17 degrees by the afternoon. So Wednesday was one of those days. Thursday morning everything was frozen solid.  They managed fine.

So, to continue from Thursday’s post….

I made the gruesome discovery that I needed to go to the store….again….I was just there two days ago (for a long time). Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping. I love buying food. That IS the problem. I try to stay out of the stores, it allows me to live a life this way. 🙂 Now, I am going to be crunched for time, but I tell myself, this is awesome because now I can make something to bring to my brother’s studio tonight. I get an instant glimmer in my eye.

We are meeting there before going to the wedding open house at a nearby venue. It starts at 5:30 pm and some people are coming there right from work, and they’re going to be hungry. Well, I’m going to be hungry. What would be easy, fun, and portable?  A Muffaletta! My daughter was telling me about a video of someone making this huge “stuffed” sandwich and of course it inspired me days later.

I have seen these sandwiches before, but I have never made one. I explore a little and get the gist of it. There is a tapenade of olives and pickled vegetables, and layers of meat and cheese. It originated from Italian immigrants in New Orleans.  Perfect! Grab a bag of chips, and we’re good to go.

Now, I am actually excited to go shopping! I get to come home and make this masterpiece.

I get a little deflated because clearly there is no time to bake bread, and the store is very limited in artisan bread, but I do manage to find an Asiago round loaf. I squeeze it. It appears that it will be soft but with a chewy texture,  perfect!

I find the capicola, the mortadella, and the cheeses. I also manage to find some uncured hard salami and ham. Bonus. The less nitrates, the better.

I get everything home (Thank God I remembered the frickin onions) 🙂 and I begin.

I take the loaf of bread and slice it horizontally. I remove some of the inside of each half to create a shallow “bowl type” appearance. I set that aside.

Then I begin the tapenade. I have a jar of Muffalleto veggies, but of course I do not trust that it will taste as good as home made, so I have my jar of mixed olives (imported green and Kalamata) and I also have some imported pepperoncini. I figured that I needed at least three cups or more of tapenade total, to split between each sandwich.  I also chop some parsley, 4 cloves of garlic, and I have a jar of roasted red peppers that I drained, rinsed, and patted dry (I hate the solution it sits in)

To start, I take about a cup of the Muffaletta veggies. They are already chopped and in oil and vinegar. I drained the oil out by removing it from the jar with a slotted spoon. I don’t want it too wet, I can always add olive oil back in if needed.  Besides, the olives are in liquid and I will be adding vinegar too, so lets see how this comes together and adjust later.

I take about 1 1/2 cups of the mixed olives and chop those, and about 1/2 cup or more of the pepperoncini rings and chop those.  I take my handful of chopped parsley and my 4 cloves of garlic, minced, and everything goes in the bowl.

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Next I add the whole jar of roasted peppers – chopped, a few tsp. of dried oregano, and 3 – 4 TB of wine vinegar. I only add a small drizzle of olive oil, it was fairly wet.  I tasted it and it was perfect. no salt needed. I added a few turns of pepper. I can see adding some pepper flakes for heat if wanted.

Now to start the layering. I put 1/4 of the tapenade mixture onto the base of the sandwich and spread that evenly all over the bottom crust.  Next I place a layer of hard salami, then a layer of provolone cheese.

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Then I put on a layer of Capicola and a thin layer of ham on top of that.

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I follow this layer with a layer of sliced mozzarella cheese and top that with the Mortadella.

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Then I take another 1/4 of the tapenade and smear it all over the inside of the top of the sandwich. I make a nice, consistent layer. Then simply put the top crust on the sandwich (OK, maybe not simply. Just commit and don’t hesitate, put it on quickly). I wrapped the whole thing up in plastic wrap and made the second one the same way. Then I put them outside (24 degrees now) topped with my heavy sheet pan, my ceramic (heavy) lasagna pan, and my cast iron skillet, to press the whole thing together (I was serious about pressing this thing). It will sit out there for several hours taunting the dogs (it’s even better left this way overnight…well, not outside silly, but maybe in your fridge)

When we arrived, I couldn’t wait to unveil it, and it did not disappoint!  My highlight of the night…everyone loved it and it was so pretty. I can see doing this with all sorts of combinations. My mind is racing with the possibilities. I’m thinking tuna, eggs, and even vegetarian options. I am very excited to add this to my list of successes. My mom would be proud 🙂 That is the best feeling.

There were a couple of pieces left over and seriously, this sandwich got better as it sat in the fridge for a couple of days. Next time I will make it in advance.

Thanks for reading!

Recipe recap:

1 10″ round loaf Italian bread – (Mostly for presentation. This can easily be made with a traditional Italian loaf or French Bread with the sesame seeds on top).

1 jar of mixed olives

1 jar of giardiniera

1 jar of pepperoncini (optional, but recommended)

1 jar of roasted red peppers, or 1 red pepper roasted,  home made

Handful of parsley, chopped

2 – 3 cloves of garlic – minced (or to taste)

3 TB red wine vinegar or optional any vinegar

olive oil

pepper grind

1 tsp or more dried oregano

1/2 lb Hard salami, sliced

1/2 lb Provolone, sliced

1/2 lb Capicola, sliced

1/2 lb Mozzeralla, sliced

1/2 lb Mortadella, sliced

Slice the bread in half, horizontally. Pull out some of the soft interior to form a vessel for the ingredients. Leave enough of the crust and interior to form a nice layer and soak up the juice from the tapenade.

Take Equal amounts of mixed olives (green and Kalamata) and the giardiniera and chop. Feel free to add to, or replace the giardiniera with pepperoncini chopped up. Put in your bowl. *You will need enough of the mixture to cover both the bottom and top crust of sandwich with an equal layer.  *These amounts may vary based on the size of your loaf. Eyeball it. You can do it.

Add the chopped parsley, the oregano (to taste), the minced garlic (to taste) and the vinegar. Really, any vinegar works. Traditionally, it would be the red wine vinegar. Then give it some ground pepper love.

Add the chopped roasted red peppers to taste.

Add a swirl of olive oil. Stir, taste, and adjust seasoning if needed. Set aside.

Spread 1/2 of the tapenade mixture on the bottom crust of sandwich bread.

Layer the hard salami, followed by a layer of the provolone. Then the capicola. You can replace the capicola with ham, or as I did, do a layer of both since I did not have a 1/2 lb, I only had 3 oz. of capicola. Next layer the mozzarella, then top with the mortadella.

Wrap in plastic and put something heavy on top, like a cast iron skillet, place in the fridge for a minimum of an hour. The longer the better. Slice in “pie” shape slices, or if using a traditional loaf, slice in 3 – 4″ slices and serve. Enjoy!

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