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Muffuletta Sandwich with Olive Salad

Muffuletta Sandwich with Olive SaladGumbo Pages

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 New Orleans muffuletterias (a new word I just made up) get their bread at Angelo Gendusa’s bakery. If you want a Liuzza’s-style “Frenchuletta”, use a good light-bodied crispy-crusted French bread. Then … the olive salad. The Holy Grail of sandwich fillings.

The olive salad recipe is the Number One single most-requested recipe on The Gumbo Pages.

While Central Grocery do not give out their muffuletta olive salad recipe, lots of folks have tried to duplicate it, with varying degrees of success. I’ve been saying for years now that I’m going to get a jar of olive salad from Central and reverse-engineer it, but until then, this will do quite nicely.

New Orleanian cook and cookbook author Chiqui Collier was kind enough to share this recipe with me for this site, 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, but since your comments indicate that you love it, i’m sure 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. It does appear in my cookbook, “Cookery N’Orleans Style”

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 Genoa salami, thinly sliced
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, two hearty New Orleanians or one incredible maiale.

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Categories: Sandwiches
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