Mortadella and Fig Melt

Mortadella and Fig Melt
Ken Goodman

Lorenzo loves mortadella more than any other deli meat. This love started very young and has yet to slow down.

For those unfamiliar with this meat, it’s basically bologna with visible hunks of tender fat and the occasional inclusion of pistachios.

This is actually the first recipe I made on the first episode ever of Sandwich King. It’s simple yet effective, and the combination of buttery mortadella, sweet and crunchy fig spread, and nutty cheese is perfection.


  • One 10-ounce bag dried figs, stemmed and halved vertically
  • Âľ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 slices white Italian bread (½-inch slices are ideal if you’re slicing it yourself)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups shredded Asiago (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 pound mortadella, very thinly sliced (preferably Boar’s Head mortadella with pistachios)
  • 2 ounces pickled cherry peppers, drained and sliced ÂĽ inch thick (about ÂĽ cup)
  • 2 cups shredded Fontina (about 8 ounces)


  1. To make the fig spread, bring the figs, vinegar, sugar, and 1 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until the figs rehydrate and the liquid reduces and thickens, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly for 5 minutes, then place in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth, 20 to 30 seconds. You can make this many days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
  2. Set a square flat- bottomed 12-inch nonstick griddle pan (not a grill pan) over medium heat.
  3. To build the sandwiches, spread butter on the outsides of the bread slices, crust to crust is a must. It may get a bit messy on your cutting board, but I prefer to butter first, build second, so you don’t rattle the inside ingredients as you butter. Then, on the inside of each slice, schmear a thin layer of the fig spread. Layer the Asiago, mortadella, peppers, and Fontina on each of 4 slices. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread, buttered side out.
  4. Place the sandwiches on the griddle pan, cover with a lid or large metal bowl, and griddle until golden brown and the cheeses become nice and melted, 4 or 5 minutes a side. Slice and serve immediately with a buttery unoaked Chardonnay.

From Come on Over by Jeff Mauro. Copyright © 2021 by Jeff Mauro. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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