Muffuletta AKA the mother of all sarnies

Because it’s definitely picnic o’clock.

ingredients

a good, sturdy loaf of bread (I experimented with sourdough and ciabatta but found one of those Grand Mange Blanc loaves in Waitrose worked brilliantly)

cheese  (I used Emmental, Jarlsberg and Gouda)

for the vegetarian half

1 aubergine sliced and griddled until tender

2 or 3 spring onions, halved and blistered on a griddle

1 jar grilled courgettes

for the carnivorous half

pastrami

salami

ham

for the olive salad

6 marinated artichoke hearts, plus a tablespoon of the oil they’re marinated in

approximately 10 sunblush tomatoes, plus a tablespoon of the oil they’re marinated in.

100g marinated olives

1 stick celery

1 carrot, grated

1/2 red onion

1 tbsp fresh parsley

10 caperberries

1 clove garlic

5-6 jalapenos

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

olive oil

1/2 tsp oregano

method

  • very finely chop the first ten ingredients for the olive salad and combine in a bowl. Stir in the oregano.
  • Whisk the artichoke and tomato oils with the red wine vinegar and anoint the salad, topping up with olive oil until  everything is slightly submerged.
  • Leave this to marry for a few hours, overnight or even longer if possible (mine was incredible after a few days).
  • Spread a hefty base of the olive salad over one half and layer up the cheese, griddled vegetables or ham.
  • Crown with the other half of bread and wrap in greaseproof paper. Tie with string and squish it down a little.
  • Cut through the paper, string and bread into wedges. Serve with plenty of sunshine, friends and your favourite patch of grass.

A New Orleans favourite with roots in Sicilian immigrant fare, this is so much more than just a sandwich. For starters, the right bread is crucial – the original version is made with a round, crusty Italian loaf, one that’s sturdy enough to withstand a soaking from the precious juices and oils from the olive salad. The filling is ultra-generous with a fat stratum of cheese, cold cuts and for my veggie version, griddled vegetables. However, the star of the show has to be the “make-too-much-so-you-definitely-have-leftovers” olive salad.

I’m not sure how authentic my version is and I would have liked to throw in some pickled cauliflower or giardiniera. I’ve since spotted some excellent looking jars of soused veggies in my local Polish deli and i’m sure these would make a great addition. In New Orleans they also pile on the mortadella and salami, but I built the OH’s half with pastrami and honey roast British ham instead.

Great wallops of flavour and enough to feed a few, this is the perfect thing for a picnic, super-special packed lunch or when it’s just too blimmin’ hot to turn the cooker on. Particularly satisfying when nonchalantly scoffed in front of your local branch of Subway.

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22 comments

  1. I’ve been meaning to make a muffuletta for ages. Not that I’ve ever eaten one before but was fascinated after reading about them.

    Yours definitely looks a fine rendition, albeit probably a little heavy on the cheese for my tastes.

    • gastrogeek

      thanks! @browners tells me there’s also a place in Vauxhall that does them, apparently? (and yes I know, I did go slightly mental with the cheese…)

  2. BSG

    Woohoo! Picnic ahoy. As you know, I love these and this one looks worth a try. A brilliant excuse to cram everything I love between two pieces of bread…:)

  3. Greetings from Sweden,

    I haven’t made one of these in years, but it used to be my life line. The perfect accompaniment to 18 holes and great to share. Nick and I shared a FAIR few over the years.

    Never Stop
    Fanny

  4. gastrogeek

    Thanks Fanny. How lovely to hear from you. Am so pleased you’re a fan of the “muff” sandwich as they lovingly refer to it in New Orleans.

    Kind regards, Rejina

    PS (if that’s you Gardiner you know I’m seeing your mum this weekend don’t you? I’ll make sure Mandy gives you a clip round the ear for this and make no mistake)

  5. Have you ever seen that TV programme Man vs. Food? This sandwich looks worthy of that! Amazing. Best accompanied by a large picnic rug for after lunch snoozing to sleep off all that cheese!

  6. Now THAT is a sandwich. Have such fond memories of eating them in New Orleans. Now you’ve made me crave a return visit…..

  7. HungryHamish

    EPIC. This is my kind of grub.

  8. oh drool! Just had to make this. Salad is having overnight ‘marry’ in fridge, could not resist a taste, it is mind blowing. Grand sarnie assmbly is tomorrow am, bet it doesn’t make it to lunchtime. Reminds me of shooters’ sandwich…..

    • gastrogeek

      Wow! Thank you that’s made my day that has – and it’s definitely all about the salad (I scoffed loads in the name of seasoning-adjustment when it was meant to be “marrying” ;-) I must get round to trying a shooter’s sarnie too, have heard they’re amazing…

  9. Sandwich looks great and I am sure New Orleans makes a great one, but I go to New Orleans for beignets and chicory coffee from Cafe du Monde…yum. Great…now I want some…

    Great post!

    • gastrogeek

      thanks Nazneen – sounds like I REALLY need to plan a visit to New Orleans. Adore the thought of beignets and chicory coffee, mmmmmmm!

  10. Ohh yum! And yes, with this weather it is definitely picnic o’clock!

  11. WOW! HUGE sandwich. I have never even heard of this before, must investigate.

  12. I wanna make this too (when the weather warms up again please) but I’m allowed to use less cheese, right?! And thanks for the tip on the bread!

    • gastrogeek

      heh! I definitely went a bit mental with the old fromage didn’t I? But it was still pretty damned tasty, I must say!

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