So roasting a red pepper is not officially a recipe but I took pictures of the process, so I might as well post about it! Oven-roasted peppers (p. 292). I ended up with extra so mom wrapped it up and saved it. She recently told me that it was amazingly delicious and wanted to know the secrets to making TJOC roasted red peppers. Believe me--there is no mystery.
You start with a red bell pepper. Brush it down with olive oil. Since I adore olive oil (and recommend you never look at the calorie count for a tablespoon of it) I smeared it all over.
Broil the pepper until it's blistered and black. I imagine it will eventually catch on fire--make sure to stop before that point.
Cut the top away and slip the skin off. Your extra will look like this:
The rest is your roasted red pepper! Pretty easy. Red peppers are relatively expensive though--I think it would be a great idea to plant a pepper plant in the garden, roast a bunch of them, and save them in a giant vat of oil (would that work?).
What did I need the red pepper for? Muffuletta (p. 181)! When I finished my Master's degree, my best friend Rachel and I went for an awesome trip to New Orleans. In between ghost tours in the morning and staying out all night on Bourbon street we managed to gorge ourselves on the awesome New Orleans specialties (muffuletta, beignets, po'boys, gumbo, etc.). I actually remember eating the muffuletta at a little place in the garden district after traveling down there on the cable cars and we trying to listen to the Anne Rice tour guide (a tour that we were not officially on and only had two people...hard to be inconspicuous!).
I really wanted this to be a delicious sandwich...especially since it was so time-consuming. Because of all the wait periods in the recipe, I hope that nobody ever makes this when they have a serious craving.
The first part of TJOC's muffuletta is to make an olive salad.
Mix together chopped black and green olives, olive oil, parsley, oregano, garlic, a little lemon juice, and the roasted red pepper. Since I don't like bell peppers, I decided to split the mixture in half and only add the red pepper to one container. The mixture then has to be refrigerated for at least eight hours.
I think the olive salad is incredibly pretty!
My olive salad looked like this:
The recipe calls for a round loaf of Italian or French bread. For some reason this was extremely difficult to buy at mom's local grocery store. I ended up buying some expensive organic bread because it was my only choice. It's split in half (essentially, making an enormous sandwich).
I see now, rereading the recipe, that I was supposed to hollow the sandwich out a little. I totally didn't do that and it worked fine (although it was a big sandwich and that step would have probably made it easier to eat). The recipe says to drain the olive mixture and spread the marinade on the bread...but there was no marinade! So I didn't do that step either...
The olive mixture spread on the bread:
The next step is a layer of salami (mmmm....)
And then a layer of ham....
And a layer of provolone cheese...are you hungry yet? I certainly am!
TJOC calls for shredded lettuce but we didn't have any...so it got a very light sprinkling of lettuce.
Finally, the other half of the olive mixture is added. I had to be careful about this and get the sides matched up--otherwise that would have been a total waste of time!
And the top of the loaf is put on:
It looked like a huge, drippy (but tasty) sandwich.
The sandwich was then wrapped in plastic...since we didn't have any Saran we put it in a loose bag (actually the bag the bread came in--nothing else was big enough) and wrapped it tight with foil.
The sandwich then was placed on a plate, covered with another plate, and weighted down in the refrigerator...TJOC says to weight it with cans but I used mom's exercise weights. It stays there for at least thirty minutes but could stay for up to six hours (and would probably be much flatter if you did the longer time).
I was starving at this point so it only got to crush for about an hour.
The final product?
It was AMAZINGLY good. The olive salad would be terrific by itself...or with some hummus for a vegetarian sandwich (mmm...I may have to try that). The sandwich was extremely tasty. I can't say it was easy, or cheap, but it sure was good. Since my last muffuletta was over three years ago, I can't vouch for it's authenticity, but at least it didn't include mayo (my Lousiana friends tell me that's the worst thing you can do to a muffuletta!).