Today is the first day of spring. Don’t look at the temperature outside, it’s officially spring and that means Picnic Season! If you have a good Italian Deli in town, you could always pick up a nice, big Muffuletta Sandwich to throw in your picnic basket. Or with a little planning ahead, you could make your own awesome sandwich designed to feed a small country. A bottle of wine, a cluster of grapes and off you go on a new adventure. So what if there’s still a little snow on the ground!
Kiddo and I love the Muffuletta just the way it is made traditionally – with an Olive Spread. However; Hubby is not a fan of the olive, so he generally passes on a Muffuletta for that very reason. Then it hit me – why not have an alternative to the Olive Spread for people like Hubby? But what? Why, Italian Relish of course! It’s the same Relish I use in my Cuocere Stile Italiano – Grilled Pork Chops with Italian Relish. That’s the beauty of sauces, spreads, relishes and such – versatility. Limitless options.
Italian Muffuletta Picnic Sandwich
1 Large Sourdough bread round
Balsamic Vinaigrette as needed
2-3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
Salt to taste
Fresh Pepper to taste
8 oz Smoked Ham or Prosciutto
8 oz Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 Cucumber, thinly sliced
8 oz Pepperoni and/or capicola, mortadella and salami
6-8 Fresh Basil leaves, torn
8 oz Bacon or Pancetta, fried and crumbled
1 Red or Purple Italian Onion, sliced (Optional if using Italian Relish)
1 Roasted Red Pepper
2-3 Roma Tomato, sliced (Skip if using Italian Relish)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano, chopped
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
4 Green Onions, sliced
Green Olives, sliced OR Green Olive Salad Spread OR Italian Relish (Recipe Below)
Quick fry bacon or Pancetta, crumble and set aside.
Slice cucumbers, set aside until ready to use.
Slice Mozzarella, wrap to keep from drying out and set aside until ready to use.
Peel and thinly slice onion, set aside until ready to use. (Skip if using Italian Relish)
Slice tomatoes, toss with oregano and thyme. Set aside until ready to use. (Skip if using Italian Relish).
Hollow out bread round so a 1/2 inch wall of bread remains.
Brush the inside liberally with balsamic vinaigrette a couple minced cloves of garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Begin filling the inside with layers.
- Smoked ham or prosciutto.
- Fresh buffalo mozzarella.
- Thinly cucumbers. Drizzle with vinaigrette before beginning next layer.
- Pepperoni and/or capicola, mortadella and salami.
- Fresh basil leaves.
- Bacon or pancetta, crumbled.
- Purple onion – Optional if using Italian Relish
- Roasted red pepper
- Roma tomato, fresh oregano and thyme – Skip if using Italian Relish
- Sliced green olives, olive spread or Italian Relish. Drizzle with more vinaigrette, salt & pepper before continuing.
- Finish layers with one more layer of smoked ham or prosciutto.
Press down to compact ingredients. Top with bread “cap” and press down again. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Place on a plate and weigh down with the lid of a cast iron dutch oven (or something heavy.)
Chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Remove weights, leave wrapped and pack in picnic basket. Slice to serve.
¾ lb Roma Tomatoes, seeded, chopped
¾ Cup Chopped Red Onion
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped (about 1-2 tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Oregano or 1 teaspoon dried Oregano
¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
Seed and chop tomatoes, place in a medium-size bowl. When chopping the tomatoes, leave some in larger chunks, some in smaller pieces for a less-uniformed appearance.
Chop Red Onions, add to tomatoes. If using fresh herbs (best) chop fresh basil and oregano. Add to tomato mixture. Pour Red Wine Vinegar over tomato mixture, toss to blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for 1-2 hours to allow flavors to mature and fully marry.
Pour relish into a strainer over a glass bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes or so to drain on its own. To complete the draining process and get as much liquid as possible, gently press relish to remove as much liquid as possible without mashing tomatoes. Your relish is now ready.