Thursday, 1 May 2014 | MYT 12:00 AM

Watch and make: Engineering a Muffuletta sandwich

From robotics to a sandwich, the writer packs in the goodies.

My robot is old school: Wind him up and he lurches across the desk, orange tin arms swinging, red tin boots shuffling, black tin eyes deep in concentration. And though he makes excellent company, I’m glad I didn’t invite him to the robotics competition. Frankly, things have changed.

Packed into stadium bleachers, hundreds of young engineers in bright T-shirts and funny hats cheered on their creations. These robots were low and wide, smooth on their wheels and dexterous – they could pass, shoot and score. Not one blinked or grimaced. No faces.

Building the bot had taken six weeks in a sweaty basement. It took wrenches, screwdrivers, safety glasses. It took mathematics, elastics, pneumatics. It took calibration, cooperation, concentration. It took many, many sandwiches.

Home from the match, I engineered a muffuletta. The sandwich is wide and low. It’s packed with cheese and ham and olives and improved by the mechanics of the squish. It’s hearty enough to keep a whole robotics team on track. And simple enough to please the old-school fan of the windup.

The muffuletta sandwich is wide and low. It’s packed with cheese and ham and olives and improved by the mechanics of the squish. – Chicago Tribune/MCT

Prep: 30 minutes / Wait: 90 minutes / Serves: 6

2½ cups Olive Salad (recipe follows)
1 (450g) loaf round Italian bread
125g thinly sliced provolone
125g thinly sliced ham
125g thinly sliced mozzarella
¾ cup grape (or cherry) tomatoes, quartered

Slice: Slice bread in half horizontally. Open and pull out some of the crumb (save for breadcrumbs another day).

Stuff: Pile half the olive salad onto the bread bottom. Layer on cheese, ham, cheese. Stir tomatoes into remaining olive salad and pile on top. Cover with bread top.

Squish: Wrap sandwich securely in plastic. Balance something flat on top and weight it down with something heavy. Let rest at room temperature, 30 minutes.

Serve: Slice into 6 wedges. Munch.

Olive Salad
Makes: about 2½ cups

¾ cup finely chopped green olives
¾ cup finely chopped black olives
¾ cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons drained and rinsed capers
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
1 clove garlic, de-germed and finely chopped
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients. Cover and let rest at room temperature, 1 hour. – Chicago Tribune/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

The Star added the links and videos to this article. Watch the video at the top of the page, from allrecipes.comto see the elaborate construction of a muffuletta, and this one below of Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme making the sandwich, which originated among Italian immigrants in New Orleans.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , Muffuletta , sandwich , ham , cheese , olives , recipe


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