Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vegetarian Muffaletta

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Elie’s birthday with food and music enjoyed with family and friends. 

Elie’s only food request was for an andouille and shrimp jambalaya—he’s been searching for a replica of a dish he ate in Charleston, South Carolina several years ago.  We didn’t even find a comparable version on our trip to New Orleans

We made the jambalaya, and the rest of the menu followed the same New Orleans theme, including a pecan-studded coleslaw, tomato and cucumber salad, cheesy grits and homemade cornbread But one of the crowd favorites was actually the Vegetarian Muffaletta.  I’m sharing that recipe with you.

sunflowers & mason jars...

Carolyn & Elie, chopping veggies for the jambalaya!

Lisa, assembling the muffaletta
I think Elie enjoyed the food—but what he (and I!) really treasured was being able to spend time with people he loves.  It’s a gift we don’t take for granted—having incredible people in our lives we value and respect.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did—and make it to share with the people you love.

Making the Vegetarian Muffalettta

Vegetarian Muffaletta

Serves 8, as an appetizer

1 loaf ciabatta
1 cup olive salad, recipe follows
½ cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 – 3 roasted red peppers*
4 ounces fontina, sliced thin
4 ounces provolone, sliced thin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the bread in half lengthwise, and remove enough of the inside to make room for the fillings.  Place one layer of fontina on the top half and one layer of provolone on the bottom half.  On top of the provolone, layer the roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and olive salad.  Place top half on top o f the olive salad.    

Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until bread is warm and cheese is melted.  Slice.  Serve warm and enjoy. 

The Muffaletta can be assembled, wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. 

Olive Salad

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 cup large pimiento-stuffed green olives
3 – 4 pepperoncini
2 – 3 tablespoons capers, drained
¼ cup celery, finely c hopped
¼ cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon celery seeds
2 – 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place Kalamata olives, green olives and pepperoncini in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until coarsely chopped.  Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients.  Olive salad will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a week.

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