the-ba-muffulettaSandwiches are beautiful. Sandwiches are fine. I love sandwiches. I eat them all the time.

Yes, singer/songwriter Fred Penner, yes, you said it. Sandwiches are beautiful. Sandwiches are fine. And god knows, I eat them every chance I get.

I was thinking about this as I was preparing a muffuletta for my husband and I this morning. We’re on a staycation this week, one that is liable to go from relaxing to boring, so I thought I would make this little New Orleans gem to inject a little celebration in the day.

I started by slicing a whole loaf of bread in half lengthwise (usually a boule works best) and pulling out its crumb. Then I chopped celery, a lot of black and green olives, diced tomatoes, and minced garlic and parsley. Added that into the bowls the bread loaf has become, drizzled a good amount of olive oil and red wine vinegar into the mix and then topped with 1/3 pound each of Genoa salami, ham and provolone.

I love this sandwich because it always reminds me of the weekend I surprised my husband by whisking him away from work and taking him to Putnam Park for the weekend. I had been working at The Sentinel that day and left early so I could rush home to get everything ready.

Soon, the only thing that was left was to make the muffuletta, which William had long been telling me about but which I’d never tried. The sandwich keenly reminded William of his time in Alabama where he spent his residency. For me, it symbolized the icing on the cake of a surprise weekend away.

It wasn’t until well into the next day that I was finally able to try it while sitting on the tailgate of our friend’s truck on a sunny but chilly day while cars raced around the track. I cannot, simply cannot, recommend this sandwich enough (you can find versions of the recipe on Epicurious). It needs to be made at least four hours before you eat it to allow the olive oil and vinegar a good chance to soak into the bread, but it is worth the wait: rich, but tangy, crunchy from the celery, slightly spicy, the bread soft and saturated with oil but still able to hold together. It’s everything you want it to be.

OK, it’s nearly 11 a.m. and I’ve just made myself so hungry I’m going to pitch to William that we start our lunch a little early today. It’s a gorgeous day and I think muffuletta will be perfect out on the back deck coupled with some salt and vinegar chips. If he needs further convincing, I’ll just refuse to stop singing Fred Penner until he agrees.

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