New Orleans Muffaletta
Make this in two stages. First, the olive salad.
1/2 c. black olives, pitted (kalamatas go very well here, just a thought)
3/4 c. medium stuffed Manzanilla olives
2-3 medium pepperoncinis
3-6 large cocktail onions
2 TBSP medium capers
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 TBSP extra-v olive oil
Optional: you might add 1/4 c. giardiniera, which is a mix of Italian pickled vegetables. I happen to think that giardiniera is redundant here.
Place all ingredients in a bowl and drain thoroughly. Pour into food processor and chop to desired consistency (I like the mix WELL ground up). Do NOT re-drain. Put back into bowl, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour, overnight is better.
Second, the sandwich.
1 loaf Muffaletta bread, sliced once horizontally (see note 1)
4 oz. EACH of good sliced ham, mortadella, Italian (preferably Genoa) salami
Optional, but tasty! 4 oz. good prosciutto
4 oz. EACH of sliced provolone and sliced mozzarella
1 c. olive salad, see recipe above
On bottom half of loaf, spread a THICK schmear of the olive salad. Layer up the ingredients as follows: sliced ham, provolone, mortadella and prosciutto (if using), mozzarella, salami. Drizzle a bit of good olive oil on top, and cover with other half of the loaf.
Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate, TOP SIDE DOWN, for 15-30 minutes, then flip to top side up and refrigerate for another 15 minutes. This mixes the salad and the natural meat juices pretty well.
Remove from fridge, remove wrap, and place sandwich on large plate (the muffaletta loaf is traditionally an 8" wide round loaf). Microwave according to your microwave's directions for warming until cheese has melted, or, remove top loaf and bake in a pre-heated 300 F oven until cheese has melted (10 minutes?), then replace top loaf.
Remove to cutting board and cut into 6 or 8 pieces (I prefer 6, but then I love this sandwich). Serve on plates, with LOTS of napkins.
A little bit of work, but the Muffalettas (as long as you're making one, make 2 or 3!) will absolutely vanish at any Super Bowl or holiday party.
Note 1: Muffaletta loaves are sometimes hard to obtain. Any largish loaf of Italian bread will substitute nicely, with one caveat -- you DO NOT want 'hard'; soft or medium is where it's at.
Yo' gon' lahk dis one, mes amis!
Thank you to the end of time,
this is possibly the best sandwich in the world and I had no idea what the spices were.