HOT AND CRUSTY MEGA MUFFULETTA LOAF

Italian Olive Salad:

1 cup pimento stuffed olives, drained

1 cup ripe olives, drained

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 (16 oz.) jar pickled artichoke hearts, drained

1 cup mixed pickled garden vegetables, drained

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

2 Tablespoons minced fresh basil OR 2 tsp. dried

2 Tablespoons minced fresh oregano OR 2 tsp. dried

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Sandwich Loaf:

1 LARGE loaf French bread (NOT a baguette)

8 ounces thinly sliced baked ham

8 ounces thinly sliced provolone

8 ounces thinly sliced Genoa salami

8 ounces thinly sliced Swiss cheese

8 ounces thinly sliced pastrami

Olive Salad: In the workbowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients. Process in pulses until coarsely chopped. Combine olive salad with remaining ingredients. Stir until thoroughly blended. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Sandwich Loaf: Slice loaf of French bread in half, lengthwise. On bottom half of the loaf, Layer meats and cheeses in order of ingredient listing. On top half of bread loaf heap on the olive salad, including the juices. Sandwich the loaf together. Cur loaf in half and wrap each half securely in heavy duty foil. Place side-by side in the center of a preheated oven set at 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cutting board. Slice into servings, securing each serving with a tooth pick. Serve hot with plenty of napkins! Serves 12-16 as am appetizer or up to 8 an as entrée sandwich.

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