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Muffuletta Sandwich

The Muffaletta (moof-fuh-LEHT-tuh) also know simply as “muff”, is a classic New Orleans sandwich. It is the ultimate make-ahead sandwich and is super easy and convenient to make. Hollowed-out bread (authentic round muffaletta loaf or other Italian round bread) is filled with generous amounts of olive salad and a variety of cold cuts of meat, cheese and vegetables.  A true Muffuletta Sandwich must always be served at room temperature.

An Italian immigrant, Signor Lupo Salvatore, owner of the Central Grocery & Deli in the French Quarter of New Orleans, claims to have invented this sandwich in 1906. He apparently started making the sandwiches for the men who worked at the nearby produce stalls of the French Market. The sign over the covered sidewalk proudly proclaims, home of “The Original Muffuletta.”  The Central Grocery & Deli not only sells the Muffuletta sandwiches as take-out or eat-in, they also sell the ingredients of the Muffuletta – including olive salad by the jar – for people who want to make the sandwich at home.

Muffuletta Bread or 1 round country loaf (25 cm in diameter)
Olive Salad (see recipe below)
50 g Italian salami, thinly sliced
50 g Italian ham, thinly sliced
50 g Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
50 g Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
a handful or two of small sweet red peppers (pimiento) or Peppadews, halved
rocket leaves

Olive Salad (this should be made the day before for flavours to infuse)
200 g green olives, drained, pitted and coarsely-chopped
200 g Kalamata olives, drained, pitted and coarsely-chopped
10 ml crushed garlic
1 anchovy fillet, mashed
15 ml capers, drained and rinsed
15 ml red wine vinegar
15 ml fresh lemon juice
60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
60 ml parsley, finely-chopped
freshly ground black pepper

  1. To make the olive salad, combine all the ingredients and then allow the flavors to infuse.
  2. Store covered in the fridge for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight.
  3. To assemble the muffaletta, remove the insides of the bread and reserve for another use, e.g. make bread crumbs to be used in Meatballs, etc.
  4. Spread some of the olive salad over the cut side of bottom half of bread.
  5. Layer the salami, ham, cheese, pimiento and rocket with a tablespoon or two of olive salad between every other layer.
  6. Place the top half of the bread on top like a lid and wrap the sandwich in cling film.
  7. Weigh the sandwich down with a cast-iron pan or tinned vegetables and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Remove the sandwich from refrigerator, cut into wedges, and serve.

Based on Martha Stewart’s Muffuletta recipe.

The Central Grocery & Deli in the French Quarter of New Orleans where the Muffuletta sandwich was invented in 1906.
The real deal – a Muffuletta sandwich from the Central Grocery & Deli in the French Quarter of New Orleans.


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