Showing posts with label muffuletta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label muffuletta. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Muffuletta Grilled Cheese #FoodieExtravaganza

Olive salad, mozzarella, salami, mortadella, ham and provolone, grilled in between two well buttered slices of a crusty loaf make a non-traditional muffuletta that, frankly, (Please don’t come at me with spears, New Orleans folks) is better than the original.

This month my Foodie Extravaganza group is celebrating grilled cheese sandwiches in all their glorious forms, sweet and savory. I am not a huge fan of sandwiches in general, but grilled cheese is one of the rare exceptions to that rule for me. As are muffulettas. It seemed like the perfect time to do a mashup and create a muffuletta grilled cheese sandwich. Seriously, as much as I enjoy a traditional muffuletta on a big circle of yeasty bread, using the filling on crusty artisanal bread and toasting the whole thing on a hot griddle till the cheeses are warm and melty, well, I like it sooooo much more. See if you don’t agree.

Ingredients for each sandwich
2 slices crusty bread
1-2 teaspoons butter, softened
2 very heaping tablespoons olive salad spread (You can easily make your own or buy it online.* )
A few slices each: mozzarella, salami, mortadella, ham and provolone cheese

Butter your bread liberally - this is no time to be shy - and lay the slices butter side down on your griddle. Top each with a healthy scoop of olive salad and spread it around to cover.

Add the mozzarella to one slice.

Followed by the salami, the mortadella and the ham.

Finish by adding the provolone.

Close the sandwich and start cooking over a low fire. It’s going to take a while to heat through and melt the cheese so we don’t want the bread to toast too fast.

Cover the griddle with a heavy lid that presses down on the sandwich. This helps hold in the heat and make sure that all parts of the bread are being toasted.

After a few minutes, remove the lid and wipe the condensation dry with a paper towel. Check the bottom of the sandwich. If it’s slightly golden, turn the sandwich over carefully and put the heavy lid back on.

Cook the other side for a few more minutes, checking it and drying off the lid occasionally. You will probably turn it a couple of more times until it’s toasted a lovely golden brown and the cheeses start melting out. Cook it for another minute or so on each side, uncovered.

Melty cheeses? Check!


Are you a fan of grilled cheese? Come check out all the fabulous recipes we have for you this month! Many thanks to our host for the Grilled Cheese Foodie Extravaganza , Lauren at From Gate to Plate.

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month. This month we celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month by serving up sandwiches.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to participate in the next Foodie Extravaganza, just go to our Facebook page to join. We would love to have you!

Follow our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest board for past events and more deliciousness!

*Amazon affiliate link

Muffuletta Olive Salad (Spread)

This fresh and tasty salad, made with olives and other vegetables is the traditional spread on a muffuletta sandwich, made famous by Central Grocery in New Orleans, Louisiana. Why it’s called salad when it’s clearly a spread, I do not know. Let’s just go with it. 

First off, let’s agree that there are as many recipes for this Italian olive salad as there are Italian mamas and lovers of the classic New Orleans muffuletta sandwich. And this is mine. If you want to throw in a few more pickled onions or capers, feel free, but just make sure you’ve got a healthy mix of olives in there. It’s all about the olives when it’s called olive salad. This stuff is great spread on sandwiches or crackers or even used as a rough dip.


13.4 oz or 380g jar marinated vegetables (The jar I used had a mixture of artichoke hearts, pimentos and mushrooms, grilled, with oil. That there >)
12.5 oz or 354g jar of pimento-stuffed green olives, drained weight 7oz or 200g
3.3 oz or 95g Kalamata olives, weight before pitting
4 oz or 115g spicy pickled onions
8 or 9 cornichons (little bitty pickles) or 35g
1 heaping tablespoon capers
2 fresh green pepperoncini (Together they weighed 2.3 oz or 65g.)
3 large cloves garlic
Extra virgin olive oil, if necessary, to loosen into spreading consistency

Pit your Kalamata olives.

Cut the stem ends off of the fresh peppers and then cut them into large pieces. You can take out the fluffy white bits as well if you want but pepperoncini aren't spicy so don't worry about the seeds.

Tip the Kalamatas and cut peppers into the food processor with the rest of the ingredients, including the marinade from the vegetables. Everything else should have been drained of its brine.

Pulse, scraping down the sides until the spread is fairly smooth. If you need to add a drizzle of olive oil to make it spread nicely, now is the time. I added just a couple of tablespoons full. Pulse again.

This makes about 2 1/2 - 3 cups of olive salad spread. Store it in a clean jar, in the refrigerator, covering it with a little olive oil to keep the top from drying out. Remember to drizzle a little oil on top before you put it back in the refrigerator whenever you take a scoop out. It will keep well for weeks, if it lasts that long.


One day I'll post my traditional muffuletta sandwich using this bread, because I did make one.

Exhibit A:

But meanwhile, how about a muffuletta grilled cheese?

Best sandwich I've had in a very long time, and that includes the muffuletta above. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Khobz Mzaweq - Moroccan Decorated Bread #BreadBakers

Khobz Mzaweg or decorated yeast bread is a specialty loaf from Morocco, so called because of the pattern created with a sharp blade, the shiny egg yolk wash and the sprinkling of both sesame and nigella seeds before baking.

I had a friend ask me yesterday, wasn’t it kind of expensive, running this blog, buying the ingredients and then, often, giving the baked goods away? I explained that, aside from the dishes I do share, we eat everything that is baked or cooked in my kitchen, most of what you see written about here was breakfast or lunch or dinner. Also, I do make pocket change money from folks who use my Amazon affiliate links to make a purchase. But the most valuable part of this space for me is the way it stretches me to try new recipes, different ingredients and unusual methods

I belong to several food bloggers groups that post every month with themes which require me to do some research and, often, delve into other cultures or use ingredients that I may not have tried before. This is so much more than just cooking and eating and writing. It is the life-long adventure of learning.

This month our Bread Bakers host Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories chose seeds as our theme. Now for Bread Bakers, any bread will do, be it yeast or sourdough or even quick bread so the options for a bread with seeds were wide open. I did a quick search online and one of the first recipes that came up was the loaf made for today’s post, khobz mzaweg

I had never heard of it before but I couldn’t resist the golden crust with the diamond pattern, scattered with seeds! But here’s the funny thing, as soon as I took the first bite, I knew I had tasted a bread like this before. Nigella seeds aside, it reminded me of the great big wonderful sesame sprinkled Italian loaves that muffuletta sandwiches are served on in New Orleans. Turns out, khobz mzaweg are often used for sandwiches in Morocco as well. Small world.

Khobz Mzaweq - Moroccan Decorated Bread

The recipe for my khobz (meaning bread) and mzaweg (meaning decorated) was adapted from this one on Make sure you scroll on down to see the other lovely seeded breads my fellow Bread Bakers have created for you today!
2 1/2 cups or 315g white flour, plus extra for kneading
1 1/2 cups or 190g fine semolina
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, plus extra for sprinkling on top
2 teaspoons nigella seeds, plus extra for sprinkling on top
1/4 oz or 7g yeast (I used one packet of Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise.)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 whole egg
About 1 cup or 240ml warm water
1 egg yolk – for the egg wash

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or by oiling the center. Or you can dust it with a little fine semolina. I used a silicone mat to roll mine out, then I transferred the whole shebang to the baking tray, so I skipped this step.

In a small bowl, put your yeast, sugar and a couple of tablespoons of the flour. Add in about one third of the warm water and leave to proof for about 10 minutes. If it gets all foamy, proceed with the recipe. If you have no reaction, your yeast is dead. Buy some more yeast and start again.

Foamy and we are good to go!

In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, put the balance of your flour, the semolina, the salt and the sesame and nigella seeds and mix well.

Add in the egg, the oil and the contents of your frothy yeast bowl.  Pour in the rest of the warm water.

Mix until all the ingredients are well combined and you have a soft dough.

Use the dough hook in your machine or turn the dough out onto a clean floured surface to knead until smooth and stretchy. This takes about 10 minutes. I did the kneading by hand because I sometimes find that I have to add too much extra flour to get my bread hook not to stick in the middle of a soft dough.

Shape the dough into a nice ball and place it on your prepared pan (or silicone mat.) Cover with a clean towel and leave to rest of 10-15 minutes.

After the dough has rested, press it out gently to flatten the dough into a large circle about 13 inches or 33cm across. Cover again with the towel and leave to rise about one hour in a warm place. I placed my silicone mat on the baking pan and balanced it over a sink filled with very hot water.

When your hour is almost up, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Whisk the egg yolk with a little water to thin it enough to brush on the dough. A teaspoon or two will usually do the trick.

Lightly score the top of the bread with a very sharp knife or a lame, which is essentially a curved razorblade with a handle. I bought my first one from King Arthur Flour a thousand years ago when they were not yet online and would send out a physical catalog. I carved my order out on stone with a chisel. Or sent them a fax. Same difference now. Seems like it’s gotten some poor reviews but I love mine!

Use a pastry brush to paint the top of the dough with the egg yolk wash.

Sprinkle on some more sesame seeds and nigella seeds to decorate.

Bake the loaf in your preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until it is golden brown all over and sounds hollow when tapped.

Even the bottom has a lovely color, doesn't it?

Slide it off your pan onto a wire rack to cool.


After enjoying a sliver or two warm with butter, I allowed the whole thing to cool completely and I probably don't even have to tell you, because I'm sure you know, I went straight out and got my ingredients and I made a muffuletta, right?

Seeds are the beginning of most plant life but they are also the impetus for some great breads this month! Again, thanks to Karen from Karen's Kitchen Stories for the great theme!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send me an email with your blog URL to

Little hint: If you are going to take photos on the rug, keep a sharp eye out for your helper who might suddenly appear in the viewfinder.