Happy 2nd birthday, sweet baby girl! Mama made you Muffuletta!
In the past year, I may have become a little older and wiser in this game called parenthood, but I definitely didn’t become more Pinterest-y, so let’s move past that fact that I was up late Friday night stuffing your birthday Muffuletta instead of crocheting the names of your guests into their own personalized quilt made from reclaimed Civil War dresses.
I had never made Muffuletta before, but a sandwich that hails from the debaucherous party capital of the nation has to be the perfect thing to serve at a toddler’s birthday party, right?? I mean, we’re eating Muffuletta, navigating our way through a sea of people (toddlers), listening to crazy music at full volume (Elmo’s Greatest Hits)… it’s just like New Orleans!!
It’s hard for me to give top billing to a sandwich that doesn’t involve some sort of heating element to contribute melty cheese and a buttery-crisp exterior, but this Muffuletta may make me change my tune. As if the three meats topped with provolone weren’t enough, there’s a homemade olive salad that soaks into the bread the longer it sits. Not to mention I used a rustic rosemary-garlic loaf, which just makes everything better. So it’s all kinds of crusty (from the bread), salty (meat, cheese, olives), rich (salami and all that gorgeous olive oil in the salad), and mega, mega tasty (from the combination of all of the above).
I am slightly obsessed with only making things for a party that can be made mostly ahead of time, because I would rather make the days leading up to the party kind of busy, rather than making the day of the party insanely busy. Plus, I just like to plan things and ceremoniously check things off my to-do list as I go. The idea of making the olive salad days in advance and assembling the sandwiches the night before so the salad oil can saturate the little crags and crannies of the bread scores major points. Plus, do I need to reiterate just how much meat and cheese is involved? The final sandwich could be used in a USAW event.
Toddler birthday parties certainly don’t corner the market on Muffuletta-making… helllllooooo, best idea for Super Bowl party ever. If you are looking for a last-minute, manliest-of-manly meals to serve your peeps, this is surely it. Ohhhh, and don’t forget my margaritas. Might need those for the toddler party, too- depends on how much Elmo you can take.
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 10 large pitted green olives, chopped
- ⅓ cup pitted, chopped kalamata olives
- ¼ cup chopped roasted red bell peppers
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (1-pound) round or oblong bread loaf (about 3 inches high)
- 4 ounces thinly sliced ham
- 4 ounces thinly sliced mortadella
- 4 ounces thinly sliced salami
- 4 ounces sliced provolone
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1½ ounces arugula leaves
- Whisk the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Gradually blend in the oil. Stir in the olives and roasted peppers. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with salt and pepper.
- Cut the top 1-inch of the bread loaf. Set the top aside. Hollow out some of the bottom and top halves of the bread- you want room for all the gorgeous meat, cheese, and olive salad you are going to pile into it, but you want some of the doughy bread left to soak up the juices from the olive salad, got it? Spread some of the olive and roasted pepper mix over the bread bottom and cut side of the bread top. Layer the meats and cheeses in the bread bottom. Top with the onions, then the arugula. Spread the remaining olive and roasted pepper mix on top of the sandwich and carefully cover with the bread top. You can serve the sandwich immediately or you can wrap the entire sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator a day before serving.
- Cut the sandwich into wedges or slices and serve.