The gloriously named Muffeleta is another top-drawer sandwich from Louisiana, this time with Italian origins. Stuffed to the gunnels with a mixture of cured meats and cheese, and layered with a punchy olive salad, this just gets better with time, and is a great street food snack.
Note: you will need to begin this recipe about 4–5 hours before you want to eat, to allow time for the Focaccia to prove and the sandwich flavors to mingle.
For the focaccia, place the flour, yeast and a pinch of fine salt in the bowl of a food mixer with the dough hook attached. With the motor running slowly, pour in the water followed by the olive oil. Knead together for 5 minutes until soft, smooth and elastic. You can also make the dough by hand if you prefer: the kneading will take around 10 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Set aside to prove for an hour or two until doubled in size.
Lightly oil a large baking tray and tip the dough on to it, pressing it out with your hands until it’s around 24cm square and a generous 1cm thick. Leave to prove, uncovered and at room temperature, for a further 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Poke deep finger holes all over the dough and pour over a generous drizzle of olive oil. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt, then bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden. If you lift the loaf it should sound hollow when tapped underneath. Leave to cool on a wire rack then carefully slice through the middle, creating 2 thin squares.
Make the olive salad by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl, and season to taste with black pepper; it shouldn’t need any salt because of the olives. Divide the salad between the two halves of bread, spreading it all the way to the edges. On one side of the bread, start layering up the fillings, again making sure to take them up to the edges. I start with a layer of provolone, then coppa and salami finocchiona, followed by the scamorza, salami ventricina piccante and finally the mortadella. Place the other piece of bread on top, pressing down firmly. Wrap the whole stuffed loaf tightly in cling film and set aside at room temperature for a couple of hours for the flavours to mingle. To serve, unwrap and cut into neat squares