Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe - History of Muffuletta Sandwich
Muffuletta; muffaletta; mufeletta -- (moof-fuh-LEHT-tuh or moo-foo-LE-ta) Its nickname is simply muff.
These sandwiches can be found all over New Orleans from delis to pool halls and the corner grocery stores. It is an Sicilian sandwich that consists of a round loaf of bread (about 10 inches across) filled with Italian salami, olive salad, cheese, Italian ham, and freshly minced garlic. The key ingredient is the olive salad which gives the sandwich its special flavor and makes it appealing to the eye. A true Muffuletta Sandwich must always be served at room temperature, never toasted; it is considered blasphemy to heat the sandwich.
The Italian Market, the Central Grocery on Decatur Street, claims to have invented this sandwich in 1906. Italian immigrant, Signor Lupo Salvatore, owner of the Central Grocery, started making the sandwiches for the men who worked the nearby wharves and produce stalls of the French Market. The sign over the covered sidewalk proudly proclaims, home of The Original Muffuletta.
Marie Lupo Tusa, daughter of the The Central Grocery's founder, tells the story of the sandwich's origin in her 1980 cookbook, Marie's Melting Pot:
To this day, tourists and locals line up at both stores out into the street, waiting
for their sandwiches. Muffulettas are more than just sandwiches, they're a tourist
attraction, especially during Mardi Gras.
1 round loaf
Muffuletta Bread or Italian-style bread, 10-inch in diameter*
* Italian bread may be substituted. Check out my Muffuletta Bread recipe.
Either make or purchase your Muffuletta Bread (check out my recipe for Muffuletta Bread).
Prepare the Olive Salad.
Cut bread in half crosswise (lengthwise) and scoop out about half of the soft dough from top and bottom pieces (this is to provide more room for the sandwich ingredients). Brush the inside bottom of loaf with olive oil or juice from the Olive Salad marinade.
Layer salami, Italian ham and Provolone cheese on the bottom piece.
Top with as much Olive Salad as will fit without spilling out. Add top of loaf and press down slightly.
Slice in quarters and serve.
Always serve the preoared Muffuletta Sandwich at room temperature, never toasted.
Makes 1 to 4 servings (depending your the appetite).
Olive Salad Recipe:2/3 cup pitted and coarsely-chopped green olives
2/3 cup pitted and coarsely-chopped Kalamata olives
1/2 cup chopped pimiento*
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 anchovy fillet, mashed
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup finely-chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon finely-chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* Pimiento are small sweet red peppers, similar to, but more flavorful than, a bell pepper. You will find small jars of pimiento in your grocery store.
In a medium-size bowl, combine all the ingredients and then allow the flavors to mingle for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.
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