Muffuletta – The Handy Picnic Sandwich

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I’ve got the perfect sandwich recipe that’s great for an Aussie Summer and big enough to feed the whole family.

As we look forward to the birth of Our Lord during Christmas time, here in Australia we also look forward to the beautiful sunshine, picnics and days the beach that summer holds. Christmas is all about celebrating and sharing quality time with family and friends, but sometimes this requires too much time in the kitchen. I’ve got the perfect sandwich recipe that’s big enough to feed the whole family – The Muffuletta. Despite it’s Italian name, the Muffuletta (pronounce moo-foo-let-ta) was actually invented in New Orleans by Sicilian Immigrants at the dawn of the 20th Century. In 1906 Lupo Salvatore, owner of the Central Grocery Store, decided to make lunch easier for his daily patrons: who would have otherwise purchased antipasti in separate portions, laying them out on a board or balancing them on their laps while eating. Salvatore took a large round sesame loaf – called a Muffuletta – and filled it with an olive salad, salami, mortadella and provolone cheese. The best thing about making a Muffuletta is that it will serve about 4-6 people, and is easy as topping a pizza. Simply select the vegetable, deli meats, cheeses and sauces of your choice and bang them between a sliced round loaf for the quickest picnic lunch you’ve ever made.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large round Italian-style loaf (approx. 25cm in diameter)
  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • 100g sliced ham
  • 100g sliced salami
  • 50g sun-dried tomatoes 
  • 50g pitted green olives
  • 1 small golden beetroot (about 150g), scrubbed to remove dirt, leaves removed, boiled until tender
  • 50g zucchini, sliced into 5mm rounds
  • ½ cup baby spinach leaves, washed

Method:

Cook the Beetroot. Remove the leaves and most of the stems saving about 10cm. This helps the beetroot to retain it’s sweet juices. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat and cook until a knife easily pierces the flesh like butter. Drain beetroot, allow to cool, then peel of the skin and cut into 1cm slices.

Split the loaf by slicing it horizontally using a serrated knife. An Italian-style loaf will be denser and have fewer crumbs. Press the base and top inwards to create a hollow space. This allows you to firmly pack in the sandwich ingredients

Top the Muffuletta by spreading the cut sides of bread with the mustard. Then layer the ingredients one by one. When ready to eat, simply cut up the muffuletta using a heavy knife and enjoy!

Feel free to add your favourite ingredients. For more recipes from Brendon The Smiling Chef visit brendonthesmilingchef.wordpress.com or tweet to @bthesmilingchef.

Writer’s Notes: This post first appeared in Australian Catholics The Christmas Edition.

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