My Mighty Muffaletta

17 Sep
It makes a thick, juicy, tasty meal. Don't worry, somehow it ends up fitting in your (my) mouth.

It makes a thick, juicy, tasty meal. Don't worry; somehow it ends up fitting in your (my) mouth.

If, like me, you’re clinging to the summer glory days of tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and the like, this recipe is a shout-out to you. I know I should probably be featuring pumpkin-themed recipes at this point and talking about the chill in the air and how the wind brings the scent of cinnamon and rising dough wafting from my neighbor’s window, but seriously, it’s only September. And besides that, I don’t even know if my neighbors have things to waft my way, besides fertilizer. I don’t know my neighbors, actually. (Yet. Yet, I said!) Additionally, the wind poses a few problems for people like me who love to cycle, and people like me who like to not be cold in the winter.

Now that I’ve talked about why this is a summer recipe, let’s get on with it. Like the panzanella I featured a while back, this one also came from my days at an upscale, university café. In the late morning, an aluminum pan would come to the café filled with roasted vegetables. To that we would add sautéed mushrooms and a fresh slice of tomato. This comprised the sandwich guts. It was served on a crusty ciabbatta (I believe; J-Dawg, you can correct me), which we slathered in a rosemary-spiked mayo.

At least a few of us, upon leaving that café, had a strong aversion to mayo; it was the life-blood of that place. The vegetables are still roasted, but the “spread” is a bit of melted feta. I also roasted the tomatoes, instead of using fresh, whole slices. I love the whole vegetables appearance of this sandwich—you know exactly what you’re eating, and the tomatoes actually serve to bind it together.

Traditional muffalettas use an olive salad and a heap ‘o meat and cheese, but there are plenty of sub sandwiches out there already. I wanted this to showcase the fresh vegetables, the heat to draw out their flavor and marry with leeks and fresh, pungent rosemary. I think you’ll like the results. Let me know what you think.

Note: this can be made ahead of time, and is ready for vegan-izing.

My Mighty Muffaletta

From “raw” to eating: 30 min., appx.

Makes: a pile, 4 servings

Inside:
1 lb. tomatoes, sliced into rounds or left whole if using cherry tomatoes (I used heirloom, Big Boy, etc. from the garden)
½ lb. zucchini, cut on the bias into planks
1-2 bell peppers, each cut in half or thirds (I used purple, green, and chocolate, also from the garden)
1 bulb fennel, sliced on the bias into ¼” rounds
2 T olive oil
1 large clove garlic, slivered
leaves from ½ twig rosemary, chopped finely
kosher salt and freshly-cracked pepper, to taste

2” feta cheese (if in block form) or 3-4 T

4-6 ciabatta rolls (I get mine at Costco)

Preheat oven to 450 F. Combine vegetables in a glass baking dish, sprinkle leeks and garlic over top, and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Roast in oven for appx. 20-25 min.

While the vegetables roast, slice ciabatta rolls in half horizontally. Turn a pan on medium heat. When it’s heated up, toss in feta. Turn the heat down to low; the residual heat from the pan will melt the feta nicely. Spread 1 T (or however much you like; the Midwestern Meateater, who is also lactose-intolerant, is ironically always adding more cheese…I suspect because of its meat-like qualities).

When the vegetables have roasted, remove from oven and top each of the ciabatta rolls with vegetables, making sure that each sandwich gets some of each vegetable. You’re not going for a zucchini sandwich here.

Optional: For the meat-eaters, include two pieces cooked (not to crispy) turkey bacon on their muffalettas. The Midwestern Meateater has a metabolism to die for, so I’m always trying to bump up the calories for him. I always do it in a healthful way, though—so turkey bacon it was this time. It adds a few calories without sacrificing nutritional value. Said the Midwestern Meateater about this sandwich, which was meant to be filled primarily with vegetables, “Yeah,the bacon really makes it.” Well, I tried.

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5 Responses to “My Mighty Muffaletta”

  1. Kristina September 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm #

    Esprout, I saw your comment about my comment on SSB, so I popped on over here! And I’m about to pop on over somewhere I can get some delicious goodies. My mouth is drooling.

    Oh, and the only reason I even know what a Muffaletta is is because Bobby Flay did a Muffaletta throwdown on his show. I think he lost. Man, his career has really taken a nose dive since then. Must be tough being an Iron Chef and having only 14 million restaurants.

    Maybe you can give me some tips on how to boil eggs? I just posted about my little deviled egg disaster on my blog.

  2. Mandy September 19, 2008 at 10:20 pm #

    Hey there! Thanks for finding me on Twitter. I love your blog and am totally going to make this muffaletta dish. I will link your blog to mine when I write about it, for sure. I also have a meat loving man. I’m the Midwesterner, though, he’s a California boy (go figure). Cheers to a great weekend!

  3. Mandy September 25, 2008 at 1:58 pm #

    Hello Ms. Erin! Thanks for the comments! Yeah, I’m sure nuts will come back into my life, just not for EVERY meal (I have a strong tendency to eat the same things). We do have so very much in common!

    I am a copywriter who wants to be a full-time food writer. Gourmet magazine would be the ultimate. Or, making a living off my blog! A girl can dream, right?

    Every time I look at the muffaletta I get excited. Must Make Soon!

    xoxoxo

  4. Beatrice September 30, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    I *don’t* know what a muffaletta is, but it sure looks tasty…

    Nice blog.

    B

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What I’m Thinking Of « Sprouted In the Kitchen - January 14, 2009

    […] Strawberry at one of my favorite food blogs. As long as we’re at it, I thought of my muffalettaI posted in the summer and decided to try making peach ice cream next summer–D., my Midwestern […]

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