Friday, January 31, 2014

Pastrami and Olive Muffaletta

Not too long ago, I began my journey in clinics with ER psychiatry at the county hospital, and today is my last day here after a great month. Each day is -to put it mildly- exciting when your patients have schizophrenia, suicidal attempts, anger management issues, tons of drugs, or access to guns (or all of the above). As one of my attendings put it, "You'll always have lots of dinnertime stories when you work here."

I knew in clinics, I'd be eating a lot of sandwiches and on the go foods. But, since it's psychiatry, a relatively light rotation, I have time to make fancy sandwiches at least. 
Pastrami Olive Muffaletta New Orleans Sandwich Panini

A muffaletta is round Sicilian sesame bread and also a New Orlean sandwich invented by Italian immigrants in the French Quarter. It's filled with Italian ham and salami, olive salad, and cheese.
Pastrami Olive Muffaletta New Orleans Sandwich Panini
The key ingredient are the delicious olives, and since I had this olive tapanade, I wanted to make my own version of a muffaletta. It's not "authentic" but this combination happened to be the ingredients I had already (or rather, what my parents gave me from Costo so I don't starve on rotations). Traditionally it's served cold, and I've been eating a lot of cold sandwiches in the hospital break room. I'm just that dedicated to authenticity.

Ingredients
2 slices, Italian bread
4-6 slices pastrami
2 slices gouda cheese
spinach
4 tbps olive tapanade (I used Trader Joe's)
olive oil

Directions
Cut loaves of bread in half. Spread each piece of bread with equal amounts olive tapande. Layer pastrami, gouda, spinach and assemble sandwich.

Drizzle olive oil and heat in a panini press or skillet.

Serve immediately, or wrap tightly and refrigerate for a few hours, allowing for the flavors to mingle and the olive tapanade to soak into the bread. Serve cold.

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