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MUFFULETTA

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 stalk celery (with leaves), thinly sliced
1/2 cup small cauliflower florets
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons water
3/4 cup pitted large green olives, finely chopped
1/4 cup brine-cured pitted black olives, such as
kalamata, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped jarred pimento (sweet peppers)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 (6-inch-round) Italian bread loaf with sesame seeds
6 ounces sliced provolone
6 ounces sliced mortadella
4 ounces sliced soppresata

In a small saucepan, combine the oil, carrot, celery, cauliflower,
thyme, oregano, and water. Bring to a boil,

lower the heat, and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are
somewhat tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetable mixture
to a small bowl, and stir

in the olives, pimento, and salt. Set aside to cool.

When the olive-vegetable salad has cooled, stir in the parsley.

Slice the bread in half lengthwise. Using your hands, scoop out
the inside of each bread half to make a shallow pocket. Brush the
inside of each half with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Fill the
bottom bread half with the olive-vegetable salad and pack it down
with your hands. Layer the cheese, mortadella, and soppresata over
the salad (without letting any hang over the sides). Cover with
the top half of bread and tightly wrap the sandwich with plastic
wrap. Place the sandwich on a cutting board or baking sheet and
weigh it down with a heavy object, such as a cast-iron skillet,
for at least 1 hour or up to 3.

Remove the plastic wrap and cut the sandwich into fourths or sixths.
Serve.

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