Simply one of the great sandwiches on this (or any other) planet, Citizens! 🙂
The muffuletta is both a type of round Sicilian sesame bread and a popular sandwich originating from Italian immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana using the same bread.
A muffuletta is a large, round, and somewhat flattened loaf with a sturdy texture, around 10 inches (25 cm) across. It is described as being somewhat similar to focaccia.
Bread used for the Muffuletta is different from focaccia, however, in that it is a very light bread, the outside is crispy, and the inside is soft. It also has no additional seasonings baked into it, aside from the sesame seeds. The bread is more like French bread, but slightly heavier.
A traditional-style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone.
The signature olive salad consists of olives diced with the celery, cauliflower and carrot found in a jar of giardiniera, seasoned with oregano and garlic, covered in olive oil, and allowed to combine for at least 24 hours.
A muffuletta is usually served cold, but many vendors will toast it. This is a travesty, in TFD‘s opinion!
Supposedly, the sandwich was created 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 still the home of the finest version of the classic sandwich in The Big Easy.
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”.
“In order to enjoy a New Orleans Muffuletta Sandwich at its best, you must have authentic Muffuletta Bread. In New Orleans you can buy the crusty loaves in any bakery, but don’t forgo this treat just because you can’t find the bread – make it yourself!” From Cajun-Creole Cooking
My version of the recipe combines a great bread (bread is the heart of this recipe, I think), my version of olive salad (the soul) and of course, the meats (the body).
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- Muffuletta Bread:
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 (¼ ounce) package instant-rise dry yeast (about 1 tablespoon)
- About 3 cups bread flour
- 1–½ teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- Sesame seeds
- The Hirshon Olive Salad:
- 1 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
- 6 ounces finely chopped giardiniera (pickled Italian vegetables) (1 cup), plus 1 tablespoon of liquid from the jar
- 2 tablespoons tiny capers, plus 2 teaspoons of liquid from the jar
- ⅓ cup finely diced (¼ inch) roasted red bell pepper
- ¼ cup finely diced (¼ inch) celery, with leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 ½ teaspoons finely minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 1 Anchovy fillet, mashed
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch of dried thyme
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Sandwich Ingredients:
- ¼ lb Genoa Salami (Oldani is the best)
- ¼ lb Hot Capicola (this is my spin, you can use regular Ham.)
- ¼ lb Mortadella (I use San Danielle)
- ⅛ lb Sliced Mozzarella
- ⅛ lb Provolone
- For the olive salad:
- Combine all, let sit for at least a week to harmonize the flavors.
- Make the bread:
- In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, combine water and sugar. Stir in yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. In food processor fitted with steel blade, combine 3 cups flour, salt, and shortening. Add yeast mixture.
- Process until dough forms a ball, about 5 seconds. Stop machine; check consistency of dough. It should be smooth and satiny. If dough is too dry, add more warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, processing just until blended. If cough is too sticky, add more flour, 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, processing just until blended. Process 20 seconds to knead.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, swirling to coat bottom and sides. Place dough in oiled bowl; turn to coat all sides. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ hours.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet. When dough has doubled in bulk, punch down dough; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Form dough into 2 round loaves about 10 inches in diameter; place on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle top of loaves with sesame seeds; press seed gently into surface of loaves.
- Cover very loosely with plastic wrap; let rise until almost doubled in bulk, 1 hour. Place rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove plastic wrap. Bake loaves in center of preheated oven 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees; bake 25 minutes. A loaf is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on bottom. Cool completely on a rack before slicing. Makes 2 loaves.
- Reprinted with permission from Terry Thompson-Anderson, Cajun-Creole Cooking, published by Shearer Publishing
- Cut the bread in half lengthwise.
- Brush both sides with the oil from your 1 week old Olive Salad, go a little heavier on the bottom.
- Layer half of the Oldani on the bottom half of the bread. Then the Mortadella. Then the Mozzarella, then the Capicola, Provolone, and the remainder of Oldani. Top this with the olive salad.
- Put the lid on and press it down without smashing the bread. Wrap tightly in Saran Wrap for at least 30 minutes, preferably with a weight on top. Unwrap and quarter it, then serve.
Citizens, please note that I can no longer afford to absorb the nearly $1000 per month it costs to keep the site running smoothly, including marketing expenses, etc.
You can make a difference!
Please consider making a one-time donation to help keep the site live and the posts coming – click here to PayPal Me a tip!
You can also show your support by listening to our podcasts, liking them, and sharing as you see fit – try them out here.