I often rely on this recipe when hosting a casual holiday party. It's a marvelous meatless sandwich that makes each gathering special.—Elizabeth Dumont, Boulder, Colorado
- 1 jar (8 ounces) roasted sweet red peppers, drained
- 1 cup pimiento-stuffed olives
- 1 cup pitted ripe olives
- 1 cup giardiniera
- 3/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup packed fresh parsley sprigs
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, halved
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into nine slices
- 3 loaves (10 ounces each) focaccia bread
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced
- 9 slices provolone cheese
- 9 slices part-skim mozzarella cheese
- In a food processor, combine the red peppers, olives, giardiniera, 1/4 cup oil, parsley, vinegar, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and process until blended; set aside.
- In a large skillet, saute mushrooms and onion in butter and 1/4 cup oil. Remove and keep warm.
- In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour and remaining salt and pepper. Add eggplant, a few slices at a time, and shake to coat. In the same skillet, cook eggplant in remaining oil for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
- Split each loaf of focaccia in half. Spread reserved olive mixture over each focaccia bottom; top with eggplant, mushroom mixture, tomatoes and cheeses.
- Place on a baking sheet. Broil 2-3 in. from the heat for 2-4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Replace focaccia tops. Cut each loaf into six wedges. Yield: 18 servings.
Originally published as Eggplant Muffuletta in Taste of Home Christmas Annual Annual 2009, p62
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