Because it’s definitely picnic o’clock.
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
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
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp oregano
- 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.