Molly’s Meatloaf Sando!

SERVES: 4 to 6

This meatloaf takes a maaaajor shortcut by relying on spicy Italian sausage as it’s base in lieu of ground pork. It’s important to use fresh sausage here. The pre-cooked kind will yield a sorely overcooked meatloaf. If you can’t find fresh sausage, or prefer to make it yourself, you can approximate the Italian sausage by combining 2 pounds of ground pork, with 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 tablespoon red pepper flake, 1 tablespoon dried sage, 1 ½ teaspoons ground fennel seeds, and 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons salt (or some similar combination).

Active Time: 45 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr 45 Mins

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Produce

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs (24 ounces)
  • 1 cup basil leaves

Pantry

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf soft French bread or 2 loaves ciabatta

Dairy

  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 ounces parmesan cheese

Meat

  • 2 pounds spicy Italian sausage

1. Make the meatloaf:

  • Preheat the oven to 300.
  • Beat 2 large eggs in a large bowl.
  • Tear 6 ounces of French bread into 3” pieces, place them in a fine mesh strainer, and run them under cold water to moisten and soften them. Wring out as much water as possible, and add them to the bowl of beaten eggs, Whisk to incorporate and allow the bread to soak in the eggs.
  • Remove the casings from 2 pounds of spicy italian sausage, add it to the bowl as well.
  • Add 3 ounces grated parmesan cheese (about ¾ cup) and 1 teaspoon salt. Finely grate 5 garlic cloves into the mixture. Using your hands (wear gloves if you feel weird about this) squeeze, knead, and work the mixture together until it’s homogenous and pasty. You don’t want big chunks of bread floating around, it should all be pretty uniform.
  • Pat the meatloaf mixture into a 9” x 5” (or similarly sized) loaf pan, pressing firmly to pack it in, and ensure it is evenly spread out. Cover tightly with foil, and bake until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center registers 150 F, 70-90 minutes. Let cool, uncovered, at least 20 minutes, or chill overnight.

2. Make the garlic mayo and fennel salad:

  • In a small bowl, stir together ¾ cup mayonnaise, 1 grated garlic clove, and the grated zest of about ½ of the lemon. Squeeze the juice of half the lemon into the mayonnaise, season with salt, and stir to combine.
  • Thinly slice 2 medium fennel bulbs and their stalks. Reserve some of the fronds if still attached and finely chop them. Add the fennel and fronds to a medium bowl. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 ounces grated parmesan cheese. Season the salad with salt and pepper and keep chilled until ready to serve.

3. Crisp up the meatloaf and make the garlic bread:

  • If cooking the meatloaf from cold, preheat the oven to 350 first. Slice the meatloaf into 1½” thick slices.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large non stick skillet over medium heat. Cook the meatloaf, undisturbed, until deeply golden brown and crisp on both sides, flipping once halfway through, about 3 minutes per side. If you are starting with cold meatloaf, transfer the seared meatloaf to the oven for a few minutes to finish warming it through. If you are working with an already warm meatloaf, this won't be necessary. Transfer to a large plate as finished and repeat with remaining slices. Reserve the skillet and any fat that’s left in it.
  • Cut the remaining bread in half lengthwise and then crosswise into pieces about the width of the meatloaf slices so they fit nicely right on top. Arrange the bread cut sides down in the non stick skillet (work in batches if they don’t all fit) and cook over medium heat, flipping once halfway until toasted on both sides, 2-3 minutes. Add a few tablespoons more olive oil to the skillet in between batches if the skillet looks dry. Rub 1 garlic clove all over the cut sides of the bread, season with salt.

4. Serve:

  • Slather some of the garlic mayo on each piece of garlic bread. Place a piece of meatloaf on each bread.
  • Add 1 cup basil leaves to the fennel salad, toss to combine, and then divide the salad among the plates, piling high.

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