Memorial Day weekend is upon us, ushering in BBQ season, and what better way to add to the food line-up than to make these delicious, tangy, and delectable mini muffuletta sandwiches! The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond shrinks the traditional large muffuletta into the smaller bread roll and multiplies it into an easy-to-prepare appetizer.
But where does the muffuletta come from?
Muffuletta is associated with New Orleans and came to that city via Italian immigrants who brought the round sesame loaf – a “muffuletta” or “muffaletta” – from Sicily to the Big Easy. The sandwich was born in a grocery store called Central Grocery Co., as the story goes, when owner and Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Lupo took an earlier sandwich incarnation and elevated it with a layer of Creole olive spread. According to Drummond the olive spread is “magical” and “addictive” and is what makes the sandwich THE SANDWICH. Instead of the traditional muffuletta bread, she uses Hawaiian bread rolls, the sweet and brioche-y, soft and stretchy, bread that is a great foil to the umani-ladened meat and cheese.
Follow Drummond’s lead and find your sheet pan on top of which you place your bread rolls but don’t separate them! Simply cut them in half so you have two large pieces rather than pulling the rolls apart. Then make your layers: olive spread, mortadella, salami, roast beef, soppressata, prosciutto, provolone, mozzarella, and a mixture of shredded lettuce, olive oil, and red wine vinegar, then another layer of meat and cheese. Gently press the top bread layer onto your creation and put it into the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
You may wonder if the sandwich gets soggy with the lettuce dressed in vinegar. Because it is layered between the olive spread on the bread bottom and the second layer of meat and cheese on the top it won’t get soggy. Be sure to LIGHTLY dress the lettuce with vinegar to help the sandwich stay firm.
Spicy Olive Spread:
- 1 cup mixed pitted olives, chopped
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup spicy cherry peppers, chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 6 ounces sliced salami
- 6 ounces soppressata
- 6 ounces prosciutto
- 6 ounces sliced mortadella
- 6 ounces thin deli-sliced roast beef
- 6 ounces provolone, sliced
- 6 ounces mozzarella, sliced
- For the spicy olive spread: Mix together the pimientos, olives, mayonnaise, peppers, vinegar, oregano, green onions, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.
- For the sandwiches: Without separating the rolls, slice the entire top off the set of Hawaiian rolls. Place the bottoms on a baking sheet.
- Lightly dress the iceberg in olive oil and vinegar, then set it aside.
- Smear the spicy olive spread on the bottom half of the rolls. Next, layer on half the meats and cheeses. Top with the iceberg, followed by the remaining meats and cheeses. Finally, replace the top half of the rolls.
- Wrap with plastic wrap or foil and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 24. Remove to a cutting board, then slice the rolls and serve.
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