Muffaletta Shopping Tips
Southern food is a mixture of Native American, Creole, and European influences. Staples of this comfort food include corn (in all its forms), honey, chicken, pork, and seafood, all easily found at any neighborhood grocery store.
Muffaletta Cooking Tips
Southern and comfort food is often rich and heavy, be sure to include lots of greens and vegetables with these dishes.
New Orleans’ famous meat-lovers’ sandwich, stacked high and layered with chopped marinated olives and provolone, is serious party food.
- All of the starter
- 3 1/2 cups (418g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Artisan Bread Flour
- 1 cup (227g) lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (9g) salt
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- olive oil or garlic oil
- 2 cups (340g) chopped green and black olives
- 8 ounces (227g) sliced ham
- 8 ounces (227g) sliced Genoa salami
- 8 ounces (227g) sliced provolone cheese
- 8 ounces (227g) sliced mortadella
To make the starter: Weigh your flour or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Mix the starter ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.
To make the dough: Combine the starter with the remaining dough ingredients, mixing and kneading to make a soft, smooth dough. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Deflate the dough, fold it in thirds, turn it over, and return it to the bowl. Cover and let rise for 2 more hours.
Deflate the risen dough, round it into a ball, cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes. After this rest, pat or roll the dough into a 14" round. Place the dough on a parchment-lined 14" round pizza pan (or a large baking sheet), cover with greased plastic or your favorite reusable wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
To bake: Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the dough and brush the top with the beaten egg white. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds.
Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's deep golden brown and the center reads 190°F when measured with a digital thermometer. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a rack.
To assemble: Cut the bread in half across its equator to make two 14" rounds. Brush the cut side of each round with 3 tablespoons olive oil or garlic oil. Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil or garlic oil into the chopped olives and spread on the cut side of the bottom round. Layer on the ham, salami, provolone, and mortadella. Cover with the top round. Slice in 2" wide strips, then in 4" pieces to serve.
Authentic Muffaletta Sandwich Bread
If you&rsquore making a muffaletta sandwich, please do yourself a favor and make the traditional bread and Olive Salad from scratch. Sorry babes, it&rsquos just not the real thing if you&rsquore using random bread.
Muffaletta sandwich bread is a round Italian style dense loaf approximately 10&Prime across with sesame seeds across the top. You&rsquoll be hard pressed to find this outside of Louisiana so making your own, from scratch, is the next best thing. Don&rsquot substitute. That would make your sandwich a poser.
We worked with a few already developed recipes and found the recipe from King Arthur Flour the best. The density nicely withstands the olive oil and olive salad without getting soggy.
Looking to make an authentic sandwich? Make sure to use this Muffaletta Bread Recipe along with our Olive Salad and Muffaletta Sandwich Recipe!
Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe
In my humble opinion, the Central Grocery’s Muffuletta is the best. It’s the standard that all other Muffulettas should strive to emulate! There are a lot of bad ones in the city. The one at Napoleon House is pretty good, it’s a heated version with a more finely chopped olive salad. They use Pastrami on their version, I’m not crazy about that part, but it’s pretty good. Pretty good, but like all others, it’s no Central Grocery.
I watched Emeril Live the other night, Mario Batali was a guest, and Emeril made a Muffuletta. Now, the meats and cheeses he used looked phenomenal, his olive salad looked great, but then he came to the bread. He used a nice looking loaf of bread, but it was obviously too much of a rustic loaf for a Muffuletta, I like something a little lighter for the Muffuletta (with sesame seeds of course), but I guess I can live with that part. But then… he cuts the bread, right, and out of nowhere (dramatic pause) he plunges his meat hooks into it and digs out all of the wonderful center of the bread on both sides and discards it! I almost fell out of my chair! My skin is crawling just thinking about it. The moral of the story is this:
Don’t do that. It makes my skin crawl. Unless of course you like it that way, then to hell with me.
Back to the recipe, I make a pretty good Muffuletta, but I’ll be honest, it’s no Central Grocery, but it’s pretty darned good. The quality bread, as I just emphasized is important, you need about a 10 inch round loaf with a good coarse texture, and a nice crust (not too hard) and sesame seeds. Here is my recipe, with a deep, humble bow to Central Grocery:
1 10″ round loaf Italian bread with Sesame seeds My Recipe
1 Recipe Olive Salad
1/4 lb Genoa Salami (Oldani is the best, and I’m relatively certain it’s what CG uses)
1/4 lb Hot Capicola (this is my spin, you can use regular Ham.)
1/4 lb Mortadella (I use San Danielle)
1/8 lb Sliced Mozzarella
1/8 lb Provolone
Cut the bread in half length wise.
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. Quarter it. You’ve just created pure heaven.
Serves: 4 light eaters, 2 hungry hangovers or one bad to the bone eating machine!
- Sticky dough? Simply add more flour to the work surface. Just be careful not to add too much.
- Use a mixer instead if you don't want to knead by hand.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place to encourage the yeast's growth.
- Want to make this ahead? Mix and knead the dough, then let it prove in the fridge overnight. Shape it into the loaf, prove, and bake the next day.
- Want to freeze this? Freeze the baked and cooled loaf for up to 1 month if desired.
What is a Muffuletta anyway?
Muffuletta is a name for both a type of the Italian bread and New Orleans sandwich that is made with this bread.
The muffuletta bread is soft round Italian bread with sesame seeds. It is not widely accessible outside of New Orleans. If you cannot find it use any bread that is crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. My choice is ciabatta, focaccia or recently found in Costco artisan burger buns that became my favorite choice for sandwiches and burgers.
The muffuletta sandwich was created in 1906 by Salvatore Lupo in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fast it became famous New Orleans sandwich.
A traditional muffaletta sandwich recipe consists of olive salad and layers of Italian cold cuts and cheeses. However, as much as I love original muffaletta sandwich, I found olive salad to be somewhat too much.
Also, the long ingredient list in the sandwich recipe is such a turn away. This is what I felt when I discovered authentic muffuletta recipe. I was intrigued and discouraged at the same time. The long list of the olive salad dressing wasn’t exciting at all. But I wanted to make this Italian sandwich badly because I’m a huge fan of Italian antipasto. Every time I’m in Italian shop I buy a different selection of charcuterie. The first choice is usually to enjoy it with a nice glass of wine, and my next option is expensive and impressive antipasto sandwich.
So I simplified muffaletta recipe to make life easier and tastier. The result is delicious and easy to make olive oil dressing infused with garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and other fragrant add-ons. With this easy muffuletta recipe, you can use your gorgeous selection of Italian antipasto without any extra hassle.
As with any sandwich adjust and adopt layers to your liking. Of course, changing the original olive dressing doesn’t make an authentic muffuletta sandwich, but it does make an impressive cold cut sandwich!
The key ingredient to the best muffuletta sandwich is patience. I know it is difficult to put aside this sandwich for a while, but resting and pressing is what makes a sandwich to go from good to one of a kind. While the sandwich under the press, bread is slowly soaking all the fragrance and taste form olive oil dressing. So make it a day ahead at evening and put it in the fridge. Next day your patience will be rewarded!
There is no better summer sandwich then muffuletta. Make it overnight and take with you to a beach, picnic, road trip, you name it. Or make it for a party to feed an entire crowd. Anyway, this is easy to make a sandwich that steals the show!
- 2 (16-oz.) jars mixed pickled vegetables
- ¾ cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons bottled olive oil-and-vinegar dressing
- 12 small dinner rolls, cut in half
- 6 Swiss cheese slices, cut in half
- 12 thin deli ham slices
- 12 Genoa salami slices
- 6 provolone cheese slices, cut in half
Pulse pickled vegetables in food processor 8 to 10 times or until finely chopped. Stir in olives and dressing.
Spread 1 heaping tablespoonful pickled vegetable mixture over cut side of each roll bottom. Top each with 1 Swiss cheese slice half, 1 ham slice, 1 salami slice, 1 provolone cheese slice half, and roll tops. Cover with plastic wrap. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve.
Note: We tested with Mezzetta Italian Mix Giardiniera pickled vegetables and Newman's Own Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing.
NAPOLEON HOUSE MUFFULETTA SANDWICH
- 2 Slices cooked ham (about 2 ounces)
- 3 Slices Genoa salami (about 2 ½ ounces)
- 2 Slices pastrami (about 2 ounces)
- ¼ cup Italian Olive Salad (Recipe below)
- 1 slice provolone cheese
- 1 Slice Swiss cheese
- 1 (5 inch) Sandwich bun with sesame seeds
TO ASSEMBLE layer first 6 ingredients on bottom half of bun.
Top with remaining bun half wrap in aluminum foil.
Bake at 350F degrees for 20 minutes until thoroughly heated.
- 4 Cups pimiento stuffed olives drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 Cup canned mixed vegetables drained
- 1 (14 ounces) Can artichoke hearts drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 (15 ounces) Can chickpeas drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 (8 ounces) Jar cocktail onions drained and coarsely chopped
- ¼ Cup capers drained
- 2/3 Cup pickled vegetables drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 Large green bell pepper chopped
- 3 Stalks celery chopped
- 2 Cloves garlic minced
- 1 Cup olive oil
- ½ Cup red wine vinegar
- 1 ½ Tablespoons dried oregano
- ½ Teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients and chill for 8 hours.
Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week yields 12 cups
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Muffaletta Bread. I can&rsquot find muffaletta bread sold anywhere outside of New Orleans, so I buy a large round loaf of Italian bread. It is traditionally made on round bread, though you an use others, such as focaccia or a sub roll. Any bread will do, but I suggest using thicker, denser bread to stand up to the olive spread.
- The Meats. Salami, mortadella and capicola are often used, though you can also use deli ham.
- The Cheeses. Provolone is very common, though Swiss and mozzarella are also used. Try smoked mozarella. Yum.
- Olive Salad. The olive tapenade is typically made with chopped olives mixed with chopped Italian style giardiniera ingredients (carrots, cauliflower, celery, peppers), though you can use other pickled vegetables and peppers with olive oil and Italian seasonings.
That&rsquos it, my friends. I hope you enjoy your muffaletta sandwich. Let me know if you make it. I&rsquod love to hear how it turned out for you. I love this recipe.
Do Lunch The Louisiana Way: Make This Muffaletta Grilled Cheese
With a name like Grilled Cheese Kitchen, how could you not pick up a copy of husband-wife duo Heidi Gibson and Nate Pollak’s brand-new book? Packed with gooey, melty recipes from their insanely popular San Francisco sandwichery, this is one culinary volume for everyone, from picky kids to adventurous adults, and every grilled cheese lover in between. Fire up the griddle: This is going to be a good one!
The muffaletta (also spelled muffuletta and probably 20 other ways, but generally pronounced “moo-fuh-LET-uh”) originated in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Traditionally made on a light flat roll that is also called a muffaletta, it’s a staple at lunch counters throughout Louisiana. While muffalettas are usually assembled and allowed to sit, wrapped, for several hours in a refrigerator before eating to allow the flavors to meld, we cook ours right away so that the bread can crisp up as a grilled cheese should.
Do Lunch The Louisiana Way: Make This Muffaletta Grilled Cheese
- Prep Time: 25 minutes plus overnight refrigeration
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Level of Difficulty: Easy
- Serving Size: 1
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 4-inch square of focaccia bread, split through the thickness (plain, rosemary and herb focaccia all work equally well)
- 1 slice provolone cheese (young, plain provolone, not aged or smoked)
- 2 or 3 slices small ripe plum tomato (about 1/4-inch thick)
- 2 thin slices mortadella
- 1 slice smoked mozzarella cheese (also called Scamorza)
- 2 thin slices capicola
- 4 thin slices dry salami
- 2 tablespoons Muffaletta Olive Salad
- 1 slice Jarlsberg cheese
Muffaletta olive salad (makes about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted Greek black olives, drained and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted red peppers
- 2 canned roasted artichoke hearts, drained
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon capers, drained and chopped finely
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
For the olive salad
In a medium bowl, combine the green olives, black olives, red peppers, artichoke hearts, shallot, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, capers, and oregano. Toss to mix well and transfer to an airtight container.
Refrigerate for 8 hours before serving. Consume within 4 weeks.
For the grilled cheese
Heat a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
Spread the butter on the outside of each piece of focaccia, dividing it evenly. Place the bottom half, buttered-side down, on a clean cutting board. Layer the provolone, tomato slices, mortadella, mozzarella, capicola, salami, olive salad, and Jarlsberg on top. Finish with the top half of the bread, buttered-side up.
Using a wide spatula, place the sandwich in the pan, cover, and cook until the bottom is nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the second side is browned and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes longer.