I love sandwiches. No big surprise there, after all I am Panini Girl. I could eat sandwiches every single day. Whenever I visit a new town or city I immediately start searching for a great sandwich spot. Unfortunately for me, my town does not have even one place where I would go to buy a sandwich. Mexican food we have, good deli-no.
This weekend our neighborhood park was the site of a jazz concert. It’s an early evening family event with picnic baskets being unpacked and everything from chips and dips to elaborate multi course meals being shared. In all honesty I think the music ends up being overshadowed by the food being eaten. Years ago I invited friends to join us for these concerts and used them as taste testers for the menu I was putting together for my restaurant. Week after week we ate a variety of sandwiches until a menu was chosen. What fun we had!
Normally I make most of the decisions regarding food and meals in our house, but this time J. spoke up requested muffalettas-the famous sandwich that hails from New Orleans-for our picnic in the park. It’s been a while since I made a muffaletta and I was a little surprised that this what he wanted. No argument from me-this sandwich layered with Italian meats and an olive salad is the perfect sandwich to take on a picnic as it holds up well and gets even better as the flavor of the salad soaks into the bread.
1 cup chopped green olives
1 cup chopped black olives
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground pepper
1 round loaf country style bread (you don’t want one that’s too crusty-a softer loaf works better)
2 cups chopped arugula
1-1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 pound Italian salami, thinly sliced
1/4 pound mortadella, thinly sliced
1/4 pound provolone, thinly sliced
Mix all the ingredients for the olive salad together in a bowl. Halve the loaf of bread horizontally and hollow out the interior. Spoon half of the olive salad over the bottom half, top with half of the arugula and half of the chopped tomatoes. Layer the salami, mortadella and provolone over. Top with remaining arugula, tomatoes and the rest of the olive salad. Put the top of the loaf on and wrap sandwich in plastic wrap. Weight down with a heavy skillet for about 15-20 minutes. Slice into wedges and enjoy. Serves: 4
When in New Orleans be sure to visit the home of the muffaletta-Central Grocery.