September 2, 2014
Zippy Salsa Fresca ♥ A tale of two sandwiches that got married
I have to admit, although not the best meal for me, we are sandwich people in this house. When I can convince The Nudge that there is more to life than a grilled cheese, I am happy when he remembers a healthy version of a hero (or submarine or hoagie or grinder) I made a year or two ago.
This time around I pumped up the volume and performed a marriage ceremony between the Muffaletta and the Italian sub. While the muffaletta is Italian in origin, like many dishes that hit USA soil, over time they take on a life all it's own and the city becomes the origin.
It seems that at least once a month, a recipe I post is featured on America's Test Kitchen weekly testing notes. While my version is slightly different than theirs (I used a jar of Alcaparrado, they broke it down to individual ingredients) the recipes could be kissing cousins. That makes me happy to know I think like a professional test kitchen. This zippy vegetable salad topping is more in line with a salsa fresca and can be used for many applications. The Italians spoon a version of this onto cold steamed mussels as a great summer appetizer and it would make a great appetizer or amuse-bouche for your next party. It's also great on a sliced steak, fish fillet, cutlets or with anything fried.
It cuts through the fat and adds a zing to your food as well as being healthy, carb-free, vegan, Paleo, diapropriate and just plain tasty.
So easy to do, all you need is a processor, nut chopper or sharp kitchen knife. Buy one big jar each Gardineira, Pepperoncini, Alcaparrado and oil-brined Kalamata or Nicoise olives. Dump the contents into the processor and pulse until you have a texture similar to pickle relish.
Along with a few extra spices and herbs, spoon the mixture into a large container and on the shelf in your fridge for up to a month. Once you start using this you will find yourself putting a bowl of this on the table in place of ketchup on a burger or hot dog, instead of mayonnaise in your tuna salad, as a nice pick-me up to your deviled eggs and add some to your next vinaigrette. It is addictive.
Zippy Vegetable Salsa Fresca
makes 1 quart
* 1 large jar Gardiniera
* 1 large jar Alcaparrado
* 1 jar pepperoncini
* 1 large roasted red pepper
* 6 each Kalamata and Nicoise olives, pitted
* 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
* 1/4 cup rice vinegar
* 1 teaspoon Dijon
* 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
* Juice from the jars to cover the finished salsa
One large container (I prefer a large Ball quart jar)
1. Pulse all ingredients until a fine mince and store in a container for up to one month (if it lasts that long).
Italian Muffaletta Sandwich
makes 4 sandwiches
* 1 sub roll (ciabatta, Italian loaf, French baguette, Boule or and crusty bread)
* 1/2 pound ham
* 1/3 pound provolone cheese
* 1/2 pound hot capicola
* 1/2 pound salami
* 1/2 cup salsa fresca
Slice the bread in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides (save for bread crumbs). Spread the top and bottom with the salsa fresca. Starting on the bottom layer the meats, in any order, top with the provolone cheese and the top bread. Wrap in plastic wrap, place a platter or sheet pan on top along with two large cans of tomatoes or whatever is available. Let it sit for at least 1 hour before unwrapping and slicing into servings.
Can be made into a few foot longs for tailgating or parties.
Best part? Does not need immediate refrigeration, so it is perfect for a picnic.