Friday, November 20, 2009

Turkey Muffuletta

Ever had a muffuletta at a sandwich shop or other restaurant? It's a delicious, unique sandwich that is popular in New Orleans. A muffuletta is traditionally made with Italian meats like salami and ham. This recipe however uses turkey, a healthier meat choice. It tastes fabulous and is a favorite in our house.

Turkey Muffuletta

1 loaf (16 ounces) Italian bread

1/3 c. olive oil
3. Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh minced basil or 1 tsp. dried basil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

3/4 lb. sliced deli turkey
6 oz. Swiss or provolone cheese, thinly sliced
1 jar (7 oz.) roasted sweet red peppers, drained and chopped
1/4 c. pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1/4 c. black olives, chopped
1 large tomato, sliced
3 Tbsp. shredded Romano cheese
1 Tbsp. minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Optional: chopped red onion

Cut bread in half lengthwise; carefully hollow out top and bottom, leaving a 1-inch shell (discard removed bread or save).* In a small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, basil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Brush over cut sides of bread. Combine chopped red peppers, green olives, and black olives. If using red onion (it adds some nice color and flavor), combine with the peppers and olive as well. In the bottom bread shell, layer turkey, cheese, pepper-olive mixture, and tomato. Sprinkle with Romano cheese, oregano, and black pepper. Replace bread top. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Healthy tip: for a low-carb version, try omitting the bread and cutting the turkey and cheese in bite-sized pieces. Toss all filling ingredients with a green salad topped with the dressing. I haven't actually tried this (we love bread), but it can't be bad!

*A good use for the saved bread is homemade bread crumbs. The bread can be reduced to crumbs in a food processor and then toasted in a toaster oven or in the oven on a baking sheet at low heat. Whenever I've done this, I use the crumbs within a few days so I'm not sure how long these would last stored in a container (not having the preservatives that store-bought bread crumbs have). It would probably be best to freeze the bread or bread crumbs if they won't be used within a few days.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home December/January 2008 issue.