June 29, 2013

Grilled Ratatouille Muffuletta

Grilled Ratatouille Muffuletta
The Muffuletta is a sandwich that hails from New Orleans. It’s sold in bakeries (and street carts) as an entire loaf of bread, cut in half and layered with a piquant olive spread and various meats and cheeses. A whole muffuletta can easily feed four hungry people.

Olive spread and a layer of eggplants

Why is a Muffuletta sandwich so unique? Well, the uniqueness comes with the olive spread slashed on both sides of the bread. It’s very tasty, moist and has a bit of kick. According to my friend Cory (a native of New Orleans) there are hundreds (thousands!) different combinations for the olive spread. Besides olives ingredients can range from capers to celery, pickles, etc. It really depends on who’s making it.

Topped with zucchini and peppers
What you’re seeing here is not a regular Muffuletta, in that there’s no meat or cheese. It’s a vegetarian (well, vegan) reinterpretation. Think about this sandwich as New Orleans meets France (Provence to be precise, where ratatouille originates).
I made it for Cory the other day; he said it was awesome and could give a regular Muffuletta a run for its money. Validation.

Finally some nice tomatoes

What really matters with Muffuletta is the resting stage. I can’t actually think of any other sandwich that actually gets better after it’s made. Resting is in fact essential with Muffuletta. Make it, wrap it in plastic and put in the fridge (or in a basket if you’re going on a picnic, or in your backpack if you’re going on a hike) and let the olive spread soak into the loaf. It does get better as it sits, the flavors mingle and you’ll get just the right balance of softness and crustiness.

Grilled Ratatouille Muffuletta
Grilled Ratatouille Muffuletta
Print this recipe! 
Adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food

Few notes. Though it’s not easy to find real muffuletta bread outside of New Orleans (unless if you travel all the way to Sicily, where it originates), a whole wheat country loaf or whole wheat focaccia can work as well. Also it’s up to you to decide how spicy you want the olive spread to be. I like a good kick but I get that not everybody shares my passion.

Ingredients 
Serves 4 very hungry

½ cup / 3.2 oz / 90 gr pitted olives (black and green)
½ cup / 1 oz / 30 gr  fresh parsley
2 tablespoons capers
1 chili pepper, deseeded (or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
fine grain sea salt, as needed
1 medium eggplant, sliced into ½-inch rounds
2 medium tomatoes, sliced into ½-inch rounds
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise ¼-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise into strips
1 medium round loaf rustic whole wheat bread, split horizontally and hollowed out

Directions

In a colander toss eggplant with ¾ teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes.
In the meantime, in a food processor, pulse olives, parsley, capers, chili pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and vinegar until pureed. Set aside.
Heat a grill or a grill pan to medium. Lightly toss eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and red bell pepper with olive oil and season with salt. Grill, turning frequently, until tender and slightly charred, about 4 minutes for tomatoes and 7 minutes for eggplant, zucchini and pepper.
Spread bread with olive mixture. Assemble sandwich with eggplant, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes.
Wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or if you are in hurry serve immediately.

Nutrition facts

One serving (i.e., one quarter) yields around 271 calories with 13 grams of fat, 33 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein. Please note that the calorie count really depends on the bread used.

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5 comments:

  1. This looks a fantastic idea for a healthy sandwich!

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  2. Those veggies look too delicious to eat. Oh who am I kidding, I'd love to chow down!

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  3. yummy, i love how amazing this looks!

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  4. In Provence it would be called pan bagnat, I think. Looks wonderful.

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  5. Okay now I need to make some of these asap!! They look delicious.

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