Muffuletta panzanella, meaning simply ‘bread salad,’ is a simplified and lightened up version of the legendary sandwich. But the flavor is unmistakably ‘muffuletta’. Make this salad your own, swapping in your favorite combination of cheeses and cured meats.
We were in New Orleans ducking into a sandwich shop, out of the daily downpour. But it wasn’t just shelter we were after, it was also a muffuletta sandwich.
Of the famous dishes we tried in The Big Easy, the muffuletta sandwich stood out – piled high with salami, mortadella, spicy sopressata, provolone, mozzarella and spicy briny olive salad. Also worthy of their accolades: beignets from Café Du Monde, seafood jambalaya and coffee with chicory.
Muffuletta sandwiches are picnic perfect because they are best made ahead of time, giving the flavors time to meld and soak into the bread. When you make this salad, you’ll toss the bread with dressing a few minutes ahead of time for the same reason. Be sure that the ciabatta or focaccia you use is fresh and soft, primed to soak up delicious juices from the dressing.
And if you love Southern food like I do, don’t miss this Slow Cooker Jambalaya, Easy Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce, my favorite Skillet Cornbread (make Cornbread Pudding with any leftovers) and, of course, Fried Green Tomatoes!
Muffuletta Panzanella (bread salad)
- 8 ounces ciabatta or focaccia bread cut into bite sized pieces
For the dressing:
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium shallot minced
- 2 tablespoons capers drained and minced
- 12 pitted kalamata olives chopped
- 12 pitted castelvetrano olives chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced spicy peppers packed in oil such as Mama Lil's
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano plus more for garnish
For the salad
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 16 cherry tomatoes halved
- 5 ounces mixed baby greens
- 4 ounces sopressata sliced into 1/4-inch strips
- 2 ounce prosciutto sliced into 1/4-inch strips
Place the bread in a bowl large enough to hold all salad ingredients with room to spare.
In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar and mustard until combined; slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly until emulsified. Stir in minced shallot, capers, olives, peppers and oregano. Spoon all but 2 tablespoons of mixture over bread and toss to coat evenly. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes. Toss once more.
Add remaining ingredients and last of dressing to bread and gently toss to coat. Divide between four serving plates. Garnish with fresh Oregano leaves if you like.