One of the most craved sandwiches from New Orleans is the Muffuletta, created by Signor Lupo Salvatore, who owned the Central Grocery at 923 Decatur Street, which is where local Sicilian venders would come for lunch. It was tradition to eat each of their items separately, but they had a hard time trying to balance the tray, which held their food, on their laps. Salvatore experimented with breads and found the Muffuletta was just right to combine all of the items as a sandwich, thus making it easier to eat. The combination of bread, salami, ham, cheese, and olive salad became a hit.
When I first went to the Central Grocery to try out their famous Muffuletta, I was a little put aside to see the line of people. I decided I was there so I would wait. I am glad I did. I ordered the whole sandwich, not knowing how big it was. I could not eat half of it, much less the whole thing but I was thankful for the leftovers because it was even better later. It had time to mix all the juices together and create a magnificent taste sensation for my mouth.
Over the years I have made my own Muffulettas and Olive Salads. I have seen many recipes but to truly experience it, you really need to try the real thing. For those of us who can’t run to New Orleans for lunch, I have provided a basic recipe I like to use.
- 1 Muffuletta bread (or 10-inch Italian style bread)
- Olive salad (recipe below)
- 3 oz. each of Capicola ham and Genoa salami
- 2 oz. each of Mozzarella and Provolone cheese
Cut bread lengthwise and pull out some of the soft bread to make more room for ingredients. Spread olive salad on bottom layer then layer meats and cheeses. Spread as much Olive salad as possible on bread topper, place on top, and cut into quarters. Serve at room temperature.
- 2/3 cup each of pitted and chopped Kalamata and black olives
- 1/2 cup chopped pimentos
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 Tbl. rinsed and drained capers
- 1 Tbl. finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients and let sit overnight if possible before use.