Every potluck has to have an option that the “not-into-potluck people” can execute, easily. This, the muffuletta, fulfills that part of the party—and some of us will gander that it’ll also be the part of the sammie that’s eaten first. (Some classics stick around for good reason—but not this one.)
The muffuletta is a New Orleans sandwich, by way of Italian immigrants; in it, you’ll usually find something like olive tapenade, Provolone, roasted peppers, and “meats.” Pull over at grocery you see en route to the party and grab the packages with the words “mortadella,” “soppressata,” and “ham” on them, along with sliced Provolone and olive tapenade or relish (or just olives that you can smush into the sandwich). Coat the bread bellies with the olives, then layer up the meat and cheese. You’ll look like an all-star potluck player, your last-minute scheming never known—unless you want to gloat. —Ali Slagle
Add the capers, olives, garlic, pepperoncini peppers, and the 1/2 cup of olive oil to a food processor, and pulse until the ingredients are roughly chopped. Transfer the pulsed ingredients to a large mixing bowl, and add the red wine vinegar, fennel seeds, dried oregano, celery seeds, chili flakes, and shallot. Fold all the ingredients together. Keep in mind that some excess oil is a good thing—it will soak into the bread and make the sandwich delicious. Taste the olive mixture. It should taste strongly acidic, salty, and spicy. Adjust the flavor with more salt or red wine vinegar as necessary. Set the mixture aside.
For the sandwich:
To make the sandwiches, slice the loaf in half, then spread both sides with the olive spread. Layer, from bottom to top, with Provolone, Mortadella, ham, soppressata, and roasted red peppers.