Tailgating recipe: Muffuletta

Whether your tailgate includes a custom grill setup and team color-coordinated tents, or a simple picnic on a well-worn blanket, no pregame ritual is complete without the spread. This is one party that's as much about the food as it is about fans and football.

With a little advance preparation, you can add a pressed muffuletta sandwich, a perfect portable meal, to your tailgate spread. It doesn't require anything too complicated, just a little planning.


Just pile a hollowed-out loaf of bread with purchased or homemade olive relish, lettuce, cheese and a medley of sliced meats, then wrap and weight the sandwich at least a few hours to compress. Unwrap and slice to serve.

Muffuletta sandwich


Total time: 1 hour, plus 2 to 4 hours marinating and 4 hours pressing

Makes: 8 servings

Note: To blanch the cauliflower and carrot, cook in boiling water for 2 minutes, then plunge into cold water.

1/2 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped


1/2 cup pitted oil-packed black olives, coarsely chopped

1 (2-ounce) jar pimentos, drained and coarsely chopped

1 stalk celery, trimmed and minced, about 1/3 cup

1/4 cup cauliflower florets, blanched and minced

1 carrot, peeled, blanched and minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano


1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large round loaf semolina bread

1 cup very finely shredded lettuce

1/4 pound thinly sliced ham

1/4 pound thinly sliced mortadella with pistachios

1/4 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami

6 ounces thinly sliced provolone

Make an olive relish by combining the green and black olives with the pimentos, celery, cauliflower, carrot, garlic, parsley, oregano, vinegar and oil. Stir to blend, then set aside to marinate at least 2 hours, but preferably 4.

Slice the bread in half horizontally. Scoop out some of the bottom part, leaving a retaining wall on all sides. Drain the olive mixture, reserving the liquid. Spread half the relish onto the bread. Top with successive layers of lettuce, ham, mortadella, salami and cheese. Drizzle with a little of the reserved marinade. Spread the remaining olive relish over the layers. Top with the reserved half of the loaf.

Wrap the sandwich in plastic film. Place it on a baking sheet and weight it with something heavy such as an iron skillet or canned tomatoes. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to compress. Cut into thin wedges to serve.

Nutritional information

Each serving: 362 calories; 1,212 mg. sodium; 43 mg. cholesterol; 21 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 26 grams carbohydrates; 17 grams protein; 2 grams fiber.