Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oven-Baked Muffuletta Sandwiches

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, September 1996
Serves 4-6

There are a few key steps here.  Following them will ensure a truly transcendent sandwich.  First, make sure you use every last drop of the olive salad juice to really soak the insides of the bread.  Second, don’t skip out on dressing the arugula.  And third, seasoning with salt and pepper is absolutely necessary!  They’re all simple steps, but they go such a long way.

DP5 307

For oven-roasted tomatoes:
2 # plum tomatoes
kosher salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 200°F.  Slice tomatoes in half, lengthwise.  Remove the core and seeds.  With the tip of a sharp knife, prick the tomato skin about 8-10 times for each half.  Lightly season the cut sides with a sprinkling of salt.  Place the tomato halves, cut sides down, on a wire rack placed over a foil-lined sheet tray.  Roast until tomato halves are cooked through and slightly dried, but still quite moist, and the skins are golden brown and curling off, about three hours.  Remove from the oven and bring to room temperature.  Store refrigerated, in an air-tight container, until needed.  (Can be stored refrigerated for about a week.)

To assemble sandwiches:
1 sub-like loaf Italian bread (the soft inside / crusty outside kind), about two feet long
half a recipe of spicy olive salad (see right below)
1/2 # provolone cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 # sopressata (or any hard salami), thinly sliced
1/4 # capicola, thinly sliced
oven roasted tomatoes
3-4 oz baby arugula
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbl extra-virgin-olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Slice the loaf of bread in half, lengthwise.  Place both halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet.

Pour the olive salad into a strainer set over a small bowl and collect all the oily juice that runs off.  Brush this all over the cut sides of the top and bottom halves of the bread.  Be generous and really soak it in.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Layer half of the sliced provolone over the bottom half of the bread and the other half over the top.  Now, working just with the bottom half, spread the olive salad over the cheese.  Then top with an even layer of the sopressata and then the capicola.  Next, layer with the oven roasted tomato slices.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.  Bake in the oven until the sandwich is warmed through, and the cheese is melted, about fifteen minutes, rotating the pan half-way through.


In a large mixing bowl, toss the arugula with the red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Top the bottom half of the sandwich with the dressed arugula, and then cover with the top of the sandwich.  Carefully slice into four or six servings.  Serve immediately.

DP5 301




Spicy Olive Salad
Adapted from Crescent City Cooking by Susan Spicer
Makes about 3 cups

DP5 055

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced in quarters, lengthwise
1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced in quarters, lengthwise
3/4 cup chopped pickled Italian vegetables (giardiniera)
8 pepperoncini, stemmed and chopped
2 Tbl capers
2 small garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
2 Tbl chopped parsley
1 Tbl chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup finely sliced celery hearts (the insides of the celery)
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine everything in a mixing bowl.  Refrigerate in an air-tight container, at least overnight (to allow flavors to meld together).  Can be store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.  




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