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Muffuletta Sandwich and a Picnic

June 18, 2013

Muffuletta

I love picnics. They are perfect for my favorite method of eating – snacking, really. Good for cheese, a crusty baguette and some fruit for “health” purposes. Even when it’s warm out I don’t mind sitting on blankets in the grass – it’s just nice to get fresh air regardless. Husband hates picnics as it turns out. He does not snack for meals. He doesn’t like sitting on the ground. He doesn’t like sweating if it doesn’t involve yard work or tailgating.

Regardless, last week we picnic-ed with friends for a concert at the Arboretum. It all turned out great in the end, mostly because husband got to sit on a bench instead of the ground and he thoroughly approved of our picnic meal. I made a muffuletta sandwich, which is a perfect travel sandwich. First, there is no mayo. Second, it gets better the longer it sits – the olive salad has time to really marinate the bread, making it most delicious a few hours after it’s made. Also, they’re huge so it’s great for sharing.

Muffuletta Sandwich, adapted from Saveur

3/4 cup  chopped cauliflower florets

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
¾ cup chopped pitted green niçoise olives
½ cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers
¼ cup jarred, drained, sliced banana peppers
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 8″-10″ round loaf Italian bread with sesame seeds (I got a 9 in panini round from Jimmy’s in Dallas)
4 oz. thinly sliced deli ham
4 oz. thinly sliced Genoa Salami
4 oz. thinly sliced mortadella
4 oz. thinly sliced provolone
4 oz thinly sliced mozzarella

Bring cauliflower, oil, oregano, thyme, carrots, celery, and 3 tbsp. water to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until vegetables are just tender, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in olives, peppers, vinegar, salt, and pepper; let cool. Note, you will have more olive salad than needed for one sandwich.

Slice bread in half horizontally. If thick, pull out some of the “insides” of the bread. Spread olive salad on bottom piece of bread. Layer meats and cheeses, then top with more olive salad. Top with other piece of bread. Wrap in plastic wrap. Ideally, make this and put it back in the fridge for 2-3 hours (or overnight even) before serving. Cut into quarters.

Picnic for those who do not consider cheese and bread a “meal”

Muffuletta Sandwich

Spicy Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Smoked Gouda and Basil (yes, this has mayo – but we only packed what we would eat up, and didn’t let it sit too long before we ate. If you don’t know what time you’ll eat, opt for an oil and vinegar based dressed pasta salad instead.)

Chips

Fruit

Strawberry Abita and Rosé

Ideal Picnic for those who do consider Cheese a Meal

Brie

Aged Cheddar

Salami or Dry Chorizo

Olives

Baguette

Hummus

Strawberries and Grapes

Champagne

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