European Dinner

When I’ve travelled to Europe for work there have been days when I have been so exhuasted that I have just wanted something simple for dinner so that I could go back to my hotel and rest. In those circumstances I have been fortunate to find a simple sandwich an a bottle of wine to take back to my room. Simple over there is not the fast food we find here, instead it is a sliced baguette, cured meat, local cheese, and herbs. Monday around here includes 3 different meal times so this is my take on that sandwich. I was headed to karate with kid 2 so I didn’t get to enjoy it with the nice wine, but my husband said it paired nicely with the VJB Nebbolio we had in the wine fridge (sigh).   

Mozzarella and Capicola Sandwiches with Tapenade

makes 4 servings


  • 1 teaspoon capers, rinsed, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • 1¼ cups Niçoise or Kalamata olives, pitted, divided
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing and drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) chopped fresh basil plus 24 whole leaves for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 24″ long narrow baguette, split horizontally in half
  • Thin-sliced cured meats (such as hot capicola or prosciutto)
  • Thin-sliced salami
  • 8 ounce balls fresh mozzarella cheese, drained, cut into ⅓”-thick slices


Combine first 4 ingredients in mortar (or small food processor); mash with pestle to paste. Add 1 cup olives and mash to coarse paste. Chop remaining ¼ cup olives and stir into mixture. Mix in ¼ cup olive oil, chopped basil, and lemon juice. Season tapenade with pepper. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Drizzle cut sides of baguette with additional olive oil. Thickly spread tapenade on bottom half of each baguette, then top with meat, mozzarella slices, and basil, dividing equally. Thinly spread tapenade on top half and sprinkle with pepper. Press the sandwich together and wrap in saran until ready to serve; up to 24 hours.


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