Sandwich #231—“Diffuse Anger with Laughter” Snack-Sized Muffuletta

By 300 Sandwiches

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231muffulettaLOI love E to pieces, because he makes me laugh when I want to destroy things.

Over the weekend, I worked on the upcoming 300 Sandwiches book, coming out next year. After two hours of writing and editing, I e-mailed all of that hard work to myself. Or so I thought. Though I hit send, and tripled checked that I e-mailed the draft to myself and not some other girl with the same name, it never ended up in my inbox.

You know that vein that popped out of my neck when I was partaking in all of those burgers at SOBE WFF last week? It was visible again as I yelled, “Are you ****ING SERIOUS?!” at my computer. When I finally just sat in silence with my head in my hands and a storm cloud sitting over me, E decided to help.

He reached for his iPhone. “Hold that pose, let me get a picture of you. This is hilarious.”

Maybe I didn’t hit send? Maybe a computer gnome ate the e-mail? Either way, I had backups of my drafts, and now I’m too busy laughing and trying to snatch E’s phone from him so he doesn’t take a photo to think about it.

Mardi Gras is coming up this week, so I made a New Orleans-inspired sandwich—the muffuletta, the funniest name for a sandwich ever—for a Sunday snack before dinner.

It’s a New Orleans staple—created at the Central Grocery in the French Quarter of New Orleans—packed with ham or mortadella, salami, cheese and homemade olive salad. Central Grocery makes their similar in size to the shooter sandwich, but that’s an intimidating amount of meat for me. This sandwich—with all of that processed meat and cheese—is not for anyone with high blood pressure. The only way to make it healthier is to just cut in into bite-sized pieces, which is what I did. Consider these the Scooby Snack version of the muffuletta.

I warmed mine up just enough so the cheese melted slightly, then layered on my cold meats, cheese and homemade olive salad with celery, shallots, capers, red peppers, and a few pepperoncini. I wrapped my sandwich in foil and pressed it with a sandwich press for a minute, so the olive juice could seep into the bread a bit.

And, I learned a new trick for when you accidentally buy pitted olives instead of unpinned olives. First, resist the urge to scream profanities. Then take an olive and place on a cutting board. Next, place the fattest edge of the blade of a good chef’s knife flat on top of the olive. Then pound a few times with the heel of your hand to crush the olive. The olive will split in half, and the pit should be easy to pry out from inside. Problem solved. No popping of neck veins necessary.

1 8-inch Italian roll, or foccacia
4 to 5 slices ham
4 to 5 slices salami
3 to 4 slices mozzarella cheese
3 to 4 slices provolone

Olive salad:
1 cup mixed olives (green and black), coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, minced
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
2 tablespoons capers, minced
2 tablespoons roasted red pepper, chopped
3 pepperoncinis, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Make olive salad: in a small bowl, mix chopped olives, celery, shallot, capers, red pepper, pepperoncini, olive oil, and red wine vinegar and mix until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

On the roll, slice in half and layer cheese, then toast enough so the cheese melts slightly. Remove, and layer on ham, then salami. Top with two or three spoonfuls of olive salad, then the top of roll. Wrap in aluminum foil and press with cutting board for a few minutes. Cut into halves or quarters (I cut mine into 2-inch mini sandwiches, which made perfect snacks). Remove foil when ready to serve.

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