Photo: Jan Smith
12 servings (serving size: 1 piece)

This make-ahead sandwich is a lighter take on an old New Orleans favorite. Use a fork to scrape the bread and hollow the loaves.

How to Make It

Step 1

Spread tomato evenly onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels. Cover with additional paper towels; let stand 10 minutes.

Step 2

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add eggplant and onion; sauté 10 minutes or until eggplant is tender and beginning to brown. Stir in thyme and pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Spoon eggplant mixture into a large bowl.

Step 3

Coat pan with cooking spray. Add tomato; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir tomato into eggplant mixture. Cool to room temperature.

Step 4

Stir olives and next 5 ingredients (through vinegar) into eggplant mixture.

Step 5

Cut French bread loaves in half horizontally. Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a 1/2-inch-thick shell; reserve torn bread for another use. Spread about 3 tablespoons olive mixture over bottom half of each loaf. Arrange chicken evenly on bottom halves. Top chicken evenly with remaining 3 tablespoons olive mixture; cover with top halves of loaves. Wrap loaves with plastic wrap; refrigerate up to 24 hours. Cut each loaf into 3 pieces just before serving.

Ratings & Reviews

gr8cooker's Review

August 29, 2011
Great substitute for a NOLA muffaletta. We are BIG Central Grocery fans and have carried the original sandwich home (on our laps--sniff, sniff! what's that smell?) on flights back to Chicago. I oven roasted my own boneless chicken breast (highly seasoned with Italian herbs, salt, pepper, garlic), used a small jar of prepared Chicago style giardinera (instead of the recipe's olive salad), used a thin layer of low fat salami instead of chopping salami, and slices of smoked provolone as well as some basil leaves and baby spinach. Hollowed out a ciabatta loaf. Could only keep the troops at bay for a couple of hours for refrigeration of the assembled sandwich. It was fabulous!