Why bother make fiddly rounds of sandwiches when you can stuff a loaf with all sorts of good things bought from the deli, so no prep or cooking involved-just a bit of slicing. My ingredients are just suggestions; you could use salami, mortadella, reblochon, fontina slices, marinated mushrooms…whatever you like. The most important thing is to choose the right loaf. You need bread with a robust crust. My favourite is a white boule but any rustic loaf will do.
- 1 crusty white loaf
- 3 tablespoons pesto
- 230g jar piquillo peppers, drained
- 1 x smoked mozzarella (also called scamorza affumicata), thinly sliced
- 1 x 193g packet slow roasted sun drenched tomatoes or similar
- 4 slices prosciutto cotto (or ordinary ham), about 120g
- 1 buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced
- Cut the top off the bread (reserving it) and hollow out, removing the soft crumb and leaving a relatively thin crust. Don’t throw away the crumb, you can process them to make breadcrumbs. Paint the inside of the loaf with 2 tablespoons of the pesto.
- Split the piquillo peppers and remove any seeds. Arrange a layer of the peppers inside the loaf. Top with a layer of the smoked mozzarella slices. Place the tomatoes in an even layer over the cheese.
- Lay the ham over the tomatoes and continue to layer until you are almost at the top. Finish the layering with the slices of buffalo mozzarella and spread the remaining tablespoon of pesto over the cheese. Place the lid of the bread on top and wrap the whole loaf in cling film. Place a small board on the loaf and weigh down with something heavy like a couple of tins of baked beans or bag of sugar. Chill, weighted, for about 2 hours. This helps to compact the layers and keep it all from falling apart.
- To serve unwrap and cut the picnic loaf into wedges.