It is Spring, officially picnic season. I thought of doing an Italian picnic so I began doing some research and got an idea that has always piqued my interest every time I see it in photos or cookbooks. So I decided to make a muffuletta. It originated in New Orleans and was made for the working class as a way to put all the specialty Italian meats and cheeses into one big sandwich instead of eating them separately. The muffuletta tastes better the longer it sits because all the wonderful flavors of the olive tapinade have time to soak into the bread creating more flavor and marinating the sandwich together. It was also fun shopping for all the delectable meats and cheeses that go into this taste treat sensation. What is even better was it could wait in the fridge marinating while I continued to assemble more Italian yummies.
Traditional Italian meats and cheeses combine to create a robust taste that perfectly compliments the garlicky olive salad. A standard muff
- 150g mozzarella cheese
- 150g pound provolone cheese
- 150g pound ham
- 150g pound hard salami
- 150g pound mortadella
- 1 cup of olive tapinade
- Cut the loaf of bread in half crosswise. Use a small, serrated knife to score the inside of both halves about 1″ in from the crust.
- Hollow the bread halves by pulling out the insides with your hands. Leave shells about 1″ thick. Save the bread chunks for other uses.
- On the bottom half of the sliced bread round, layer deli meats and cheeses as desired.
- Spread a generous portion of olive tapinade on top of the meat and cheese
- Brush oil from the olive tapinade on the inside of the top bread layer and place on top of sandwich.
- This can be wrapped and left in the refrigerator to let all the juicy flavors mingle together
- Cut sandwich into quarters.
- Get ready for a very big bite.
*tapinade recipe below
The Muffaletta olive tapanade is considered the most important ingredient in this delicious sandwich. This assorted pickle spread is so unbelievably tasty you will just hoover it with a spoon. A wide assortment of Italian pickles and olives are used and left chunky to create layers of flavor.
Use of a food processor is not recommended for this tapinade as you want it to stay chunky. A knife works just fine to crush the olives and chop the giardiniera.
- 1 1/2 cup quality pimento-stuffed olives, crushed or coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, crushed or coarsely chopped (standard black olives may be used)
- 1 cup giardiniera (Italian pickled salad including cauliflower , carrots, celery, and onion. This can be found in the pickle aisle at the grocery store.)
- 2 pepperoncinis, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. capers, chopped
- 2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
- 3-4 fresh cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 cup quality extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine ingredients and place in a jar with lid. Refrigerate over night (24 hours is best) to allow flavors to mingle.
This olive salad can also be used as a bruschetta spread on toasted bread, the chunks of bread that you pulled out of your muffaletta or as a tasty addition to pastas, salads, or dips.