I first heard about a sandwich called a muffaletta a couple of months ago. And with a name like that how could I resist making it?
According to the gospel that is Wikipedia, the muffaletta (or muffuletta) hails from New Orleans and is both a type of bread and the name given to a submarine-style sandwich. Traditionally, the sandwich seems to consist of a muffaletta loaf filled with layers of olive salad, and meats and cheeses.
One of the key parts of the sandwich, other than the copious levels of filling, is the olive salad. You can make your own by mincing olives, pickled vegetables (carrot, celery and cauliflower), garlic and oregano with a little olive oil. Or you can take the short cut of just using some green or black olive tapenade like I do.
I couldn’t source a large, flat round loaf from my local supermarket so decided to bake my own using a recipe by Mary Cadogan on the BBC Good Food website here. But I’m sure you can easily find one at a bakery or just use a ciabatta or focaccia loaf from a supermarket – it’s doesn’t have to be round after all.
This sandwich would be perfect for a picnic as you can pretty much fit the entire contents of a picnic basket into it. Ideally you want to wait at least a couple of hours or overnight before tucking in to allow all the flavours to mingle and the juices to soak into the bread.
I’ve taken a slightly more vegetarian approach to the filling than is traditional in my version below but the beauty is you can fill it with anything you want – salami, parma ham, pastrami, mozzarella, cheddar, etc. Happy muffaletta creating!
Serves 5-6 (or 4 very hungry people!)
1 white, round, flattish loaf of bread, about 25cm across
3 tablespoons olive tapenade
3 tablespoons sliced olives
2 teaspoons capers
6 sun dried tomatoes, sliced
2 roasted peppers from a jar, sliced
½ can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
6 slices of Emmental (c.150g sliced/grated)
10 rashers smoked streaky bacon, grilled/fried until crispy
1 large tomato, sliced
Handful of parsley, leaves finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Cut your loaf in half horizontally. Spread the base with the tapenade and then layer up each of the other ingredients (except the olive oil), finishing with a good grind of black pepper.
- Drizzle the lid/top half of your bread with olive oil before placing it on top.
- Wrap tightly with cling film and place a plate or something heavy on top to weight the sandwich down and help all the flavours mingle.
- Leave in the fridge for at least a couple of hours or overnight before tucking in.