Perfect Weekend Lunch

I hope I’m not the only one who watched Man vs Food on Dave and the Food Channel and thinks, “MMMMMMmmmmmmMMMMMM!!!!” Seeing the amazing foodie delights and creations that Adam discovers across the USA not only makes me want to get over there and try some of the lesser portions myself (though I am famed within the family for probably being able to give a steak challenge a fair shot) but downsizing and adapting the recipes and ideas for home use.

Many of them are pointless to recreate in UK portions, for example the 14 dozen oyster challenge – that’s just a shed load of good oysters. Some of the huge portions can however be halved, and quartered, and eighthed, and so on. A recent episode of Man vs Food Nation, where Adam coaches Joe Public through eating challenges instead of devouring them himself (a good thing, he wasn’t looking well for all that food!) showed a humungous sandwich, famous in New Orleans; the Muffelata. Surely you’re sold by the name alone!?

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If not, let me break it down for you. UK sized anyway. Toasted bun, filled with grilled salami/ham with melted mozzarella on top, with a generous spreading of olive salad. Now this isn’t what it sounds like – I can hear you imagining a heavy dose of green salad with the occasional olive dotted through, maybe with some parmesan shavings on top. However, the American olive salad is almost like a relish – a blitzed up mix of Mediterranean yumminess, that make for a wonderful addition to simple bread, or even served as a side for steak – the possibilities are endless. The recipes vary to contain things from celery to capers, but always with the same ‘dressing’ of oil, lemon and oregano. I decided to make up my own mix of solid ingredients, and use a recipe online for the dressing. My recipe for about 1 jar is as follows, and will keep for months:

  • 1/2 jar green pimiento stuffed olives
  • 1/2 jar black stoneless olives
  • 2-3 tsps capers
  • 3-4 sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 3-4 chopped pieces roasted peppers in oil
  • 2 sticks of celery broken into pieces
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  • 1 tsp oregano

The Muffelatas went down extremely well, and the olive salad was such a big hit I had orders from mum to make some up for Christmas. The ingredients need to be blitzed in the food processor – gradually, so that the whole mixture stays relatively chunky. We want a relish, not a paste. So with that in mind, I have some advice off the back of two failed batches. Break up the celery into small pieces, even slice them up if your food processor isn’t too great, and don’t put all the ingredients in at once. I ended up trying to poke mine with a wooden spoon through the little tube meant for extra ingredients – I AM AWARE THIS IS THIS STUPIDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE. PLEASE DO NOT REPEAT MY MISTAKE. I was fine, the food processor was fine, the spoon was not. I didn’t fancy dishing up olive salad with added splinters to my family, so that lot was binned. Also, please make sure you get pitted black olives – I didn’t and so spent about 15 minutes before the family meal scraping through the salad so no one broke their teeth.

So, with the above in mind, please do give the olive salad a go – and let me know what you team yours with!


The Vintage Housewife x




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