As the days are getting warmer and you start to think about a picnic by the river, or even just lunch in the garden, you don’t want to go laden with pots of soggy salad and flaccid sandwiches.
What you need is something that makes people go “Ooh, what’s that?” Then makes them smile when you tell them…
“That, my friend, is my Muffaletta.”
It is said that the Muffaletta’s origins lie in New Orléans where a Sicilian grocer devised the sandwich, using a round Italian loaf stuffed with delicious salads, meats and cheeses and sold it to the local farmers who supplied his store.
Even if you lack culinary skills this is easy to make and you can fill it with all manner of things that you have languishing in your fridge. It makes a divine summer lunch as when all the layers meld together you get a mixture of flavours and textures in every tasty slice.
How to make it:
- Take a large round sturdy loaf like a boule or focaccia.
- Slice it horizontally and scoop out some of the doughy insides.
- You can turn these into breadcrumbs or just check no one’s looking then eat it.
- Spread the base with some tapenade or pesto and then drizzle in some olive oil.
- Now comes the creative bit, just start layering in ingredients that you love.
- Maybe start with a layer of rocket and a handful of salty capers, some sunblush tomatoes, olives, slices of salami and cheese, some peppers or artichoke hearts from a jar.
- All the sorts of things you’d have on a good pizza, but nothing too wet.
- Add some freshly grated raw beetroot if you can for sweetness and colour.
- Remember a few twists of pepper and sprinkle of salt as you stack your ingredients and perhaps another drizzle of olive oil along the way.
- Keep alternating the layers until it looks fit to burst. Then carry on and add some more.
- If you like a bit of crunch in your sandwich add a layer of crispy fried bacon or pancetta.
- When you get to the top spread the inside of the lid with tapenade or pesto and wrap the whole loaf in a big piece of greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
- Tie it with string and press it down with a plate and a few heavy tins and let it sit in the fridge until you are ready to head out for lunch.
This ‘recipe’ is featured in the etc magazine.