Preparing a charcuterie/cheese board in our house means that I always buy wayyy-yyy more than I need. I find the goods at our local deli counter and the butcher looks at me knowingly – clearly not my first time there. I’m staring at the endless wedges of blue cheese, cheddar cheese, soft and hard cheese, and losing track of why I’m there. My face is practically pressed up to the glass as I drool over the prosciutto, salami and hams.
The olives are always next, rows of marinated, spiced olives, antipasto peppers, artichokes and mushrooms. I want all of the things. And I always walk out with more than I can eat. So after making up a board this weekend that served 4 but made to serve 8, I was left with a pile of leftovers. Not a bad thing. Not ever a bad thing.
So what is a girl to do with all of this? We could use it to make another cheese board the next day, sure. You could separate the items, using the cheese on/in pasta and layer the salami and ham over pizza.
But it feels wrong. You make this muffaletta sandwich because it’s the right thing to do. This salty and tangy sandwich, piled high, is what you deserve. Because your stomach is begging for it and your tastebuds have already begun salivating. Because no other sandwich can ever pretend to be “the muffaletta”.
The muffaletta sandwich is known for its layers upon layers of salty cured meats and cheese. Fresh herbs and crunchy giardiniere salad are tossed with olives that make you forget any other sandwich exists. The Italian and New Orleans cultures beautifully married to give you this generous offering.
Religiously, you slather on the olive spread over the bottom half, careful not to lose a single, beautiful olive to the floor or to your husband’s hungry hands. You feel for the mortadella, layering it on until the olive salad has disappeared under the salty, fatty ham. The salami next and then you give a long sigh as the first cheese layer, provolone, is ceremoniously offered to the sandwich. The spicy taste of the capicolla doesn’t hold you back, as you layer it on and sneak a bite for yourself and immediately the fiery feeling spreads through your mouth. The mozzarella and bitter arugula go on and finally, tangy and spicy pepperoncino peppers seal the deal as you replace the slice of bread over top.
Wrap the sandwich in cling foil and flatten it by placing a heavy skillet or cast iron pan over top, torturing every slice of cheese and meat until the bread surrenders to the weight.
- 1 cup mixed olives, I used kalamata and green olives
- ¾ cup giardiniere
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped finely
- ¼ cup oregano, chopped finely
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 loaf of focaccia or ciabatta bread
- 6 slices of mortadella
- 10 slices of genoa salami
- 10 slices of capicolla, mild or hot
- 8 slices of provolone cheese
- 8 slices of mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup of arugula leaves
- 8-10 pepperoncino peppers, sliced
- Chop the olives and gardiniere roughly. Place in a bowl and mix with parsley, oregano, olive oil and vinegar. Keep in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour to overnight.
- Slice the top half of the bread and keep aside. Spread the olive mixture over the bottom half of the bread, being careful not to add on too much of the liquid.
- Layer on the mortadella, salami, provolone, mozzarella and capicolla in any order you wish
- Place the arugula leaves and pepper slices over top and cover with top half of the bread.
- Wrap in plastic and place a heavy skillet over top to flatten sandwich.
- Cut into wedges when ready to serve
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