We LOVE the 50 nifty United States of this awesome country and believe each state is special. Every Monday we feature a sandwich unique to its state as part of our “50 Sandwiches, 50 States, 50 Weeks” series beginning with Alabama and ending with Wyoming.
Hands down, when I think of a sandwich from Louisiana I think of the Po’Boy and the Muffuletta. Back in early 2009, Gary and I made a little visit to NOLA where we had our first Muffuletta sandwich- and fell in love with it. So the “Muff” is the sandwich we chose for Louisiana! Hoorah! For those of you that would have preferred the Po’Boy- my sincerest apologies.
I didn’t realize this, but muffuletta is a type of Sicilian bread that became the “chosen one” to be used to make the sandwich named after the bread There isn’t one thing I don’t like about the ingredients in the Muffaletta: thinly sliced layers of Genoa salami, Black Forest ham, mortadella, Provolone cheese and a savory olive salad all stuffed between sturdy muffuletta bread.
I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy this sandwich from the original source- Central Grocery Company, an Italian Market in the New Orlean’s French Quarter. The origins of the sandwich began in the 1900’s when Central Grocery founder, Signor Lupo Salvatore, would serve farmers who came to New Orleans to sell their produce. The farmers, of Sicilian descent, would order a plate of salami, ham, cheese, olive salad and bread. Not having a proper place to sit and eat, they struggled to balance the plate of food. Although not typical of Sicilian dining, Salvatore suggested it would be best to slice the bread in half and add the remaining ingredients to make a hand held sandwich. The idea stuck and took off.
Today the Muffuletta can be found in restaurants, delis, and bars all over Louisiana. And if you can’t make it to the original source, Central Grocery Co. will ship the tasty sandwich right to your door. I think I’ll make mine at home and wait until I can get back to NOLA. Here in Upstate, NY we have quite a few folks of Sicilian descent as well but you won’t find any Muffuletta bread. From what I can tell it’s pretty difficult to find outside of New Orleans, so we decided to make our own using this recipe. Focacia bread would probably be my choice if I were going to use store bought bread but couldn’t get muffuletta. If you don’t have mortadella in your area, you can substitute plain bologna or omit it and increase the salami and ham from 4 ounces to 6 ounces. Hope you guys enjoy this tasty sandwich as much as we did!
- Muffuletta Bread
- 4 oz. Genoa salami
- 4 oz. Black Forest ham
- 4 oz. mortadella
- 6 oz. Provolone cheese
- ⅔ cups pimento stuffed green olives (Manzanillo olives), chopped
- ⅔ cup kalamata olives, chopped
- 2 Tbsps. capers, chopped
- ⅓ cup jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
- ⅓ cup parsley, chopped
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsps. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. (2 cloves) garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- ⅛ tsp. crushed red pepper
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Make olive salad by mixing all the ingredients together. Set aside. You can make this a day or two in advance as well so the flavors can meld together.
- Slice the muffuletta bread in half lengthwise and scoop a little of the center of the top and bottom pieces out a little so it can hold the ingredients better.
- Brush the bread pieces with the dressing from the olive salad.
- On the bottom half of the bread, layer with the salami, then ham, then mortadella, then provolone, then with as much of the olive salad as possible.
- Place the top piece of bread on the sandwich in cut in 4 equal quarters.