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Los Angeles Times

Every summer I wonder if the picnic basket is really an urban myth. Does anyone pack a restrained meal anymore? The usual splendor on the grass is at least six bulging bags of salads and cheeses from some takeout shop ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, plus 2 to 4 hours marinating and 4 hours pressing | Serves 8
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted oil-packed black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (2-ounce) jar pimentos, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, trimmed and minced, about 1/3 cup
  • 1/4 cup cauliflower florets, blanched and minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, blanched and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large round loaf semolina bread
  • 1 cup very finely shredded lettuce
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced ham
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced mortadella with pistachios
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced provolone

Step 1Make an olive relish by combining the green and black olives with the pimentos, celery, cauliflower, carrot, garlic, parsley, oregano, vinegar and oil. Stir to blend, then set aside to marinate at least 2 hours, but preferably 4.

Step 2Slice the bread in half horizontally. Scoop out some of the bottom part, leaving a retaining wall on all sides. Drain the olive mixture, reserving the liquid. Spread half the relish onto the bread. Top with successive layers of lettuce, ham, mortadella, salami and cheese. Drizzle with a little of the reserved marinade. Spread the remaining olive relish over the layers. Top with the reserved half of the loaf.

Step 3Wrap the sandwich in plastic film. Place it on a baking sheet and weight it with something heavy such as an iron skillet or canned tomatoes. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to compress. Cut into thin wedges to serve.

Note: To blanch the cauliflower and carrot, cook in boiling water for 2 minutes, then plunge into cold water.


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