Back in the day when I used to work at the Maple Leaf Grill, one of my favorite sandwiches was the Vegetarian Muffaletta Sandwich. This seems to be somewhat of an oxymoron because every muffaletta recipe I come across has substantial portions of meat on the sandwich. But at that (vegetarian) time of my life, I didn't mind. And from what I have read, it is the 'olive salad' portion of the sandwich that makes a muffaletta and muffaletta...that's just the word on the street.
But back to the Maple Leaf sandwich. The chef replaced the meat with a pureed artichoke heart salad and then slathered it with a thick layer of olive tapenade and Gouda cheese. Pure salty heaven on a ciabatta roll. So over the years I have played around with re-creations of the dreamy sandwich.
A few weeks ago, after a long staring contest with my kitchen cabinet, I realized all the ingredients to make a combined version of the artichoke spread and olive tapenade were there. It started with a can of artichoke hearts. Then a squeeze of lemon. Then a chop of garlic. An opened can of black olives. A bunch of fresh parley in a water glass in the fridge. Music to my ears. I painted some Trader Joe's lavash with olive oil and popped it in the toaster oven.
This was so satisfying and easy, that I have made it three times since then. You likely will too.
Artichoke and Black Olive Spread
Inspired by the Maple Leaf Grill's Muffaletta Sandwich
Yields 1-1 1/2 cups
This dip is so versatile. It can be a spread on a wrap. Or put on bruschetta with provolone melted on top. Or like me, you might be so enticed that you eat it by the spoonful.
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and throughly squeezed
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup canned black olives, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
Pile the artichoke hearts, garlic, salt, pepper, mustard, lemon juice and olive oil into the food processor. Pulse several times until it is blended, but not completely pureed. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with the black olives and parsley. Adjust any seasonings. Enjoy immediately.