muffaletta spoon bread

Muffaletta Spoon Bread

The pictures and recipes for muffaletta always look so good to me.  I love all things with olives, so a recipe that is basically devoted to showcasing olive tapenade is right up my alley.  Over the last few months I have been wondering if I could create a recipe that had all the same flavors of a muffaletta, with an easier delivery than a sandwich stacked inches high.  Thus, my Muffaletta Spoon Bread was born.

Spoon bread  can be described as polenta that has been elevated to a soufflé. It isn’t really bread at all, since it is rich and custardy, requiring a spoon (or fork) to eat it.  For my Muffaletta Spoon Bread I have folded in my olive tapenade, which I made by marrying together the olive salad recipes from Damaris Phillips and Women’s Day Magazine, and a bit of hard salami and provolone. I reviewed a variety of spoon bread recipes before I started, and most seemed to follow three parts liquid to 1 part cornmeal, 1-2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 2-3 eggs. For this recipe I went with the ratios as found in the spoon bread dressing recipe in Carla Hall’s Soul Food.

My husband and I deemed the recipe delicious.  It is just as decadent as it’s namesake sandwich, but in my opinion is an easier way to serve a crowd!

muffaletta spoon bread

Muffaletta Spoonbread

  • ¾ cup pitted castelvetrano olives, drained
  • ½ cup pitted black olives, drained
  • ½ cup giardiniera, drained
  • ½ canned roasted red pepper, drained
  • 1 celery stalk, leaves removed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flatleaf parsley
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons non-pariel capers
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 ounces provolone cheese, chopped
  • 3 ounces hard salami, chopped
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  3 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 º F. Grease a 3 quart baking dish (9-inchs x 13 inch pan).

To make the olive tapenade, place the first eleven ingredients (olives through Italian seasoning) in a food processor and chop until fine; set aside.

Add the half and half, water, and sugar to a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Gradually add the cornmeal, whisking constantly.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly (about 10-20 minutes). Stir in the tapenade, cheese, salami, and baking powder.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs with a mixer on high until light yellow and foamy (I used a tall glass and my immersion blender). Gently fold egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture until incorporated.  Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed, golden brown, and top springs back when lightly touched. Serve.


Fried Stuffed Olives

Fried Mozzarella Stuffed Olives

I don’t know how I have never heard of fried olives until now.  On a recent work trip I noticed them on a menu and I was instantly intrigued.  I just HAD to make these at home. A multitude of recipes abound on the internet, but for my first batch I decided to stick with a classic mozzarella filling for the fried olives.

Fried Olives

I also wanted to keep it simple – I used a mozzarella cheese stick cut into nibs that would easily slide into the center of the pitted olives.  A dredge in flour and then a dunk in egg and seasoned bread crumbs is all the coating that is needed.  The olives are fried for only a minute, but that is long enough to give them a crunchy exterior.

Fried Olives

It should come as no surprise that they were a hit with my hubby, so you can be sure these fried olives will be made for our next family gathering!

Fried Olives

Fried Olives

Fried Mozzarella Stuffed Olives

Canola oil for frying
One, 0.75 ounce mozzarella cheese stick
24 pitted Castelvetrano olives, drained (about 4 dry ounces)
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
Marinara sauce for serving

Place oil in a deep fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions, or add oil to a large pot to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil to 350°F.

While oil is heating, cut the cheese stick in quarters lengthwise and then cut each piece into 6 equal sized segments to make 24 mozzarella nuggets. Place one piece of mozzarella in each olive cavity.  Dredge the olives in the flour then coat with the egg and finally coat with the bread crumbs. Fry the olives for 45-60 seconds and then remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Cool for a few minutes then serve with marinara sauce.

Note: I tried these with gluten free flour and bread crumbs, and it doesn’t impact taste or quality


Green Olive Meatloaf

Trusted go-to meal. Comfort food. A super tasty dinnertime feast. Would you believe that I am talking about meatloaf?  That’s right, I said meatloaf.


I know there are many who would argue with me and say meatloaf is not a household favorite, but I would have to firmly inform them that they are wrong.  The haven’t tried either of my meatloafs, one of which is a frequent enjoyed in my house. My Green Olive Meatloaf is a staple meal, and has developed out of a re-creation attempt on my part.

Shortly after moving to Colorado, an old friend of my husband invited us over for dinner.  He made his version of meatloaf which included green olives.  I thought it was such a unique and flavorful addition that I just had to try my own.

First, I actually searched for a good, basic meatloaf recipe. After some online digging I settled on a recipe entitled The Perfect Meatloaf on  The recipe makes quite a large loaf, so I have trimmed it back to half the size. I have also kept the saltines as the filler, but replaced the sautéed onions with a generous amount of chopped, green olives.



I have even gotten rave reviews from extended family, who have not broken from their favorite ground turkey meatloaf in years.  See, it pays to try new things!

Green Olive Meatloaf - experimental epicurean .8


Green Olive Meatloaf

1 lb ground beef

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

8 saltine crackers, crushed

1 ½ cups chopped green olives


Heat oven to 375 °F. Add meat to a large bowl along with the egg, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, crackers, and olives. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together until well mixed. With wet hands, pat mixture into a 9×5-inch loaf shape on a foil lined and non-stick spray coated baking sheet. Bake until crisp on top and cooked through, about 1 hour. Cool slightly and serve with ketchup.