Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf

recipe

Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf

Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf

Buying the vegetables pre made at the deli or supermarket will save you a significant amount of time. All you need to do then is buy everything, unscrew the lids and layer and pack it tight the night before. However if you're a troublemaker like me (literally like making trouble and work for myself, yes it is a sickness), the following recipe is for you too.

Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf

Torn sun dried tomatoes

I believe the origin of this is Italian from what I've read and the list of ingredients does suggest so. Originally you were to use a Muffuletta loaf of bread, however having never seen one here I did with the cob roll instead. New Orleans is another place which seems to take their Muffeletta seriously and they have their own version of this which I shant even try to mess with (the olive mix is apparently the key to theirs). I shall stick my neck out here and say that you could certainly add a range of fillings to this, within reason, and it would still be delicious, even if it's not completely authentic. The crunch of the freshly rebaked bread and the lusciousness of the filling will have everyone holding their hand out for a second slice (or a third).

Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf

Grilled zucchini layer

I often make double of the eggplant dip as it's so good and because it's so healthy you get the urge to eat more than you normally would. This is for a more modest amount (about a cup or so) although feel free to double it if you're a fan of a luscious dip. It is strong on the breath for the rest of the day  (the raw onion and garlic do that) so do your kissing beforehand. Or use it as an excuse to stop kissing people hello if you're uncomfortable with it and are trapped in a Seinfeld moment.

Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf

Layering the sweet potato

Picnic stuffed cob loaf (vegetarian version)

An original recipe by Not Quite Nigella

  • 1 large cob loaf
  • 1 large eggplant sliced thinly lengthways (or a jar of this bought from supermarket) plus oil for grilling
  • 250g Eggplant dip (see recipe below if you wish to make this yourself)
  • 1 large zucchini sliced thinly lengthways (or a jar of this bought from supermarket) plus oil for grilling
  • 1 sweet potato sliced thinly lengthways, steamed
  • 100g sun dried tomatoes
  • 50g cheese thinly sliced
  • 100g stuffed olives
  • 300g Mushrooms sauteed in butter, oil with garlic

((To make a meat version, you could stuff it with mortadella, salami, olives and a provolone))

Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf

Step 1 - Set grill on hot and grill eggplant and zucchini.

Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf

Step 2 - Cut off top 1/4 of the cob loaf and take out the soft filling to the loaf. Set aside (you can use this for the eggplant dip which requires fresh breadcumbs). Spread a layer of eggplant dip on the bottom.

Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf

Step 3 - Continue layering with other ingredients until the whole cob is stuffed to the very top with filling. Roll out two long rectangles of cling wrap and place them in a cross shape. Wrap the Muffeletta up snugly and add another sheet of cling wrap if you need it. Place on a plate and then weight down in your fridge overnight (with other heavy containers or a can if you need to).

Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf

Layering with sun dried tomatoes

Step 4 - The next day set your oven to 180C. Place foil wrapped muffeletta in oven and bake for 30 minutes until crusty and golden on top. Slice into colourful wedges.

Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf

Low fat eggplant dip

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I got 2 cups worth from the above hollowed out cob loaf)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Step 1 - Heat oven to 190c and place a sheet of foil on a baking tray. using a sharp knife, puncture two slits into the eggplant and then place the whole eggplant on the tray and bake it for 1 hour.

Step 2 - Remove fro oven and allow to cool enough to handle. remove the skin and scoop out the soft flesh. Drain it in a fine sieve to remove the excess water pressing down with a spoon to get all of the water out.

Step 3 - In a food processor blitz the garlic and onion until finely chopped. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Muffuletta - stuffed Picnic loaf