Jamie Oliver's Muffaletta

When I was travelling around America I discovered the fantastic muffaletta sandwich and couldn't believe how clever it was. I loved that it was a working person's sandwich that would keep you going right throughout the day by having a bit for lunch, another bit later, and even some baked until the cheese was melted and delicious for dinner. This is my version of that classic sandwich – I've tweaked some of the fillings to give it more of an Italian vibe. Enjoy!

Serves 8-10

Ingredients and Directions:
1 head of celery
1/2 a jar of Mezzetta Home Style Cured Pitted Olives, drained
2 jars Mezzetta artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 a jar of Mezzetta roasted sweet red pepper strips, drained
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large muffaletta loaf or piece of plain focaccia (approximately 8 inches by 12 inches)
good-quality extra virgin olive oil
2 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
a small bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked
2 x 4 ounces balls of buffalo mozzarella
4 ounces Parma ham or prosciutto, the best quality you can afford
4 ounces smoked ham, the best quality you can afford, thinly sliced
4 ounces freshly grated provolone piccante cheese
4 ounces hot Neapolitan salami, the best quality you can afford

Snap off the outer sticks of the celery and put them back in the refrigerator for another time. Trim off the base, then pick off and discard any big green leaves. Pick off and reserve the paler, smaller leaves, and finely slice the pale tender core. Roughly chop the olives and place in a bowl with the celery, the artichokes and the peppers, then season with a little salt and pepper.

Slice the bread in half horizontally and open it out on your board. Drizzle with the best extra virgin olive oil you have. Spread the celery salad evenly on the bottom half, top with the sliced tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, then tear the basil leaves over the top.

Tear over the mozzarella, then layer up the sandwich with prosciutto, smoked ham, grated provolone cheese and salami. Put the top of the bread back on and press down firmly to squash all the fillings together. Chop into thick wedges and serve with ice cold beer.


- Recipe courtesy of Mezzetta