To me, Saturday is my day
to either accomplish everything, or do nothing at all.
Today, I chose to do nothing at all.
As I peeked out the window this morning to get a taste of the weather, the blanket of snow I found covering our grass was just what I needed to justify my longing to snuggle up and stay indoors.
When lunchtime rolled around, the cold air creeping through the cracks of the apartment amounted to a strong craving for a nice, warm, "cheese toasty."
But I was not about to make a plain-old grilled cheese on a day filled with hours to spare.
No, no. You see...my husband knows me well, and for my birthday last year, he got me a cook-book devoted to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
*Grilled Cheese by Marlena Spieler
(Side note: I think he had an ulterior motive when choosing this particular gift...I love cheese and he loves sandwiches, so somewhere along the lines he'd have to be benefiting from this!)
But to be honest, I've never actually attempted
making any of the sandwiches in this book,
because most of the recipes contain ingredients that only Giada would know.
So today, giving in to my cravings, I decided to be brave and give the Hot Muffaletta [muhf-uh-let-uh] a try. The melted provolone and sizzling salami was a scrumptious flavor and just what I needed to warm me up on this cold November day! And let's just say the husband was not disappointed...
This picture (like usual) does not give it justice, so you're just going to have to try it for yourself.
Here's the recipe.
Don't be intimidated...the ingredients are a lot easier to handle than it seems and I found almost all of them on one single isle at the grocery store.
A Hot Muffaletta
4 soft French rolls
Extra-virgin olive oil
A few dashes red wine vinegar
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 to 4 teaspoons drained capers
2 to 3 large pinches dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped or diced roasted red pepper
4 mild pickled peppers, such as Greek or Italian, sliced
1/2 red OR other mild onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
4 ounces dried salami, thinly sliced
4 ounces Westphalian ham, smoked turkey OR mortadella
8 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese
*I just got all of these ingredients and put a little of everything...You must know, I learned how to cook from my mom...measuring cups are a waste of time. :)
Open rolls and pull out a bit of their fluffy insides. Sprinkle each cut side with olive oil and vinegar, then with garlic, capers and oregano. On 1 side of each roll, layer red pepper, pickled peppers, onion, olives, tomato, salami, ham and finally cheese. Close up tightly and press together well to help seal.
Heat a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and lightly brush outside of each roll with olive oil. Place sandwiches in pan and weight down or place in a panini press. Cook until golden brown on one side, then turn and brown second side. Sandwiches are ready when they are crisply golden and cheese has oozed a bit and crisped in places.
Cut into halves and eat immediately.