The MUFFULETTA SANDWICH is one of the great sandwiches of the world, and it's criminal that it can hardly be found anywhere outside the city of
It's also a bit of a lesson to those who think the only cultural and culinary heritage of
The Italians soon settled in comfortably into
According to the tale I've heard, the muffuletta sandwich was invented by Signor Lupo Salvadore, who opened the now-famous little Italian market called Central Grocery on Decatur Street in the French Quarter in 1906 and created the muffuletta sandwich, named for a favored customer (although I had also heard that the sandwich was named for the baker of the round Italian bread on which the sandwich is served).
You'll hear lots of New Orleanians pronounce the sandwich "muff-uh-LOT-uh", but I understand that the proprietors of Central Grocery pronounce it "moo-foo-LET-ta". The common abbreviation is "muff"; e.g., "I'll take me a half a muff."
Here are my favorite places in
923 Decatur Street, French Quarter
The home of the muffuletta, and a must-visit. Many consider this to be the quintessential muffuletta in the city, and as great (and historically significant) as it is, these days I'll stand in line. Still though, if you've never been to Central, you've gotta go. Over the years the muffuletta operation has expanded greatly and limited the grocery store space; they have some indoor seating now for muffuletta lovers. Me, I like to take mine to go and eat it on a bench in
Jackson Square or on the Moonwalk. They do a brisk to-go business, and big jars of olive salad are available for you to buy and take home. I like my muffuletta with a Barq's from their big Barq's machine in the back, even though it's not locally-made anymore
Make your own muffuletta!
This is not just a bunch of cold cuts and cheese. Anyone can make that. That's not to say that the meats and cheeses aren't important -- they are. You can get good quality Italian meats and cheeses in most good supermarkets, but you'd be better off at an Italian market (especially for the mortadella, which isn't always easy to find at a conventional supermarket.To make this, you need two very important ingredients -- the bread, and the olive salad. In a pinch any good Italian bread will do, but for an authentic muffuletta you need a muffuletta loaf. It's round, usually sesame-seeded and about 10 inches in diameter. I'm told that many
The olive salad recipe is the Number One single most-requested recipes.
While Central Grocery does not give out their muffuletta olive salad recipe, lots of folks have tried to duplicate it, with varying degrees of success.
New Orleanian cook and cookbook author Chiqui Collier was kind enough to share this recipe and says, "It is my pleasure to send you the recipe for the original muffletta sandwich that was created by the grandfather of a lady I worked with 28 years ago." (Presumably that was Signor Salvadore.)
"The recipe for the olive salad is the exact way it was given to me. It makes over a gallon! I'm sure if you’ve tasted it or when you taste it, you won't want to cut it down. It stores very well in the refrigerator for many months and makes great gifts along with the recipe for the sandwich.
- For the olive salad:
- 1 gallon large pimento stuffed green olives, slightly crushed and well drained
- 1 quart jar pickled cauliflower, drained and sliced
- 2 small jars capers, drained
- 1 whole stalk celery, sliced diagonally
- 4 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
- 1 small jar celery seeds
- 1 small jar oregano
- 1 large head fresh garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 jar pepperoncini, drained (small salad peppers) left whole
- 1 pound large Greek black olives
- 1 jar cocktail onions, drained
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or pot and mix well. Place in a large jar and cover with 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 Crisco oil. Store tightly covered in refrigerator. Allow to marinate for at least 24 hours before using.
- For the sandwich:
- 1 round loaf italian bread
- 1/4 pound mortadella, thinly sliced
- 1/4 pound ham, thinly sliced
- 1/4 pound hard
salami, thinly sliced Genoa
- 1/4 pound Mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 1/4 pound Provolone cheese,sliced
- 1 cup olive salad with oil
Split a muffuletta loaf or a loaf of Italian bread horizontally. Spread each half with equal parts of olive salad and oil. Place meats and cheeses evenly on bottom half and cover with top half of bread. Cut in quarters. Enjoy!Serves four timid dieters or two hearty New Orleanians. We don’t do Pilates in
Dave again... Do me a favor and drop by Katherine's Cafe (THE SMOKEY MOUNTAIN CAFE) and thank her for being a guest blogger today. Eventually, everyone wants to and a lucky bunch of us will make it to New Orleans. Remember this local treasure and make a trip to the Central Grocery in the French Quarter to grab this sandwich.
Just a reminder, I am in the middle of the BIGGEST giveaway contest I have ever held... Coupons for 4, 15-oz bottles of POM WONDERFUL (your choice of flavors). Check my post from Sunday (you can get there by clicking HERE) for the details on how to win, but one of the important ways to enter is to go to http://smokymountaincafe.blogspot.com/ and leave a comment, then return here, and comment to me that you thanked Katherine for her guest blog. You will get one entree for each of my guest bloggers you thank for giving me a blog vacation. On Sunday, I will select one commenter to win this terrific prize!
And one last thanks to NOLA CUISINE (http://www.nolacuisine.com/) for the use of the terrific photos in this post.