Muffuletta: The Story of a Sandwich

Sandwiches are bomb. You can put anything between two slices of bread and call it a sandwich, it’s amazing. I’m a Louisiana boy, so naturally my favorite kind is the Muffuletta.

The word “muffuletta” refers to the round sesame bread that makes the sandwich. Muffuletta bread originated in Sicily, but the sandwich has its home in good ol’ New Orleans. The sammy was invented in the famous institution Central Grocery in the French Quarter around 1906, but the bread has been around since the 1890s. Yep, the muffuletta is older than the Po’ Boy!

The muffuletta came to life out of a big old mess. The owner of Central Grocery noticed that people were having a hard time juggling their meals of bread, salami, cheese, and olives, so you know what he did? Put everything on a piece of bread. Ta-da! What a genius.

Central Grocery is still the place to go for the sandwich, but if you’re not in the ‘hood, the grocery will ship their muffulettas right to your door. (You have to order more than three, but it’s worth it.) But watch out, a full sandwich is about the size of a human head. The bigger the better.

Want to make one of these bad boys at home? Power to you!

Muffuletta Sandwich

1 10″ round loaf Italian bread with Sesame seeds
1 Recipe Olive Salad*
1/4 lb Genoa Salami
1/4 lb Hot Capicola (you can also use regular ham)
1/4 lb Mortadella
1/8 lb Sliced Mozzarella
1/8 lb Provolone

Cut the bread in half lengthwise.
Brush both sides with the oil from your Olive Salad, go a little heavier on the bottom.
Layer half of the Genoa salami on the bottom half of the bread. Then the Mortadella. Then the Mozzarella, then the Capicola, Provolone, and the remainder of the Genoa. Top this with the olive salad. Put the lid on and press it down without smashing the bread. Quarter it. Heaven.

Serves: Enough for four or enough for one burly man like me.

*Olive Salad

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

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.