Another New Orleans original – the Muffaletta – is a deliciously harmonious collaboration of cured meat, provolone cheese, olive salad and the imperative seeded, white fluffy bread that is the sandwich’s namesake. We can thank Sicily for the round, sesame bread but the ingenious sandwich is a New Orleans invention. In 1906, Central Grocery, right here in the French Quarter, developed the sandwich and has been the muffaletta headquarters ever since. People stand in line on a daily basis for the sandwich, as well as the in-house made olive salad (a pickled concoction of olive, celery, carrot, cauliflower, olive oil and Italian spices). Make the New Orleans original sandwich at home with Chef Emeril’s recipe.
. 5 ounces pimento-stuffed olives (1 cup), sliced, plus 2 tablespoons of liquid from the jar
. 6 ounces chopped giardiniera (pickled Italian vegetables) (1 cup), plus 1 tablespoon of liquid from the jar
. 2 tablespoons drained capers, plus 2 teaspoons of liquid from the jar
. 3 ounces pitted Calamata olives (1/2 cup), sliced
. 2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
. 1 tablespoon minced shallot
. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
. 1 teaspoon dried parsley
. Pinch of dried thyme
. Pinch of crushed red pepper
. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
. 1 large loaf seeded Italian bread (about 1 1/4 pounds), split
. 1/4 pound sliced fresh mozzarella
. 6 ounces sliced capocollo or prosciutto
. 1/4 pound sliced Genoa salami
. 1/4 pound sliced mortadella
. 1/4 pound sliced mild provolone cheese
Peperocini, for serving
1. In a medium bowl, stir the pimento-stuffed olives with the giardiniera, capers and their respective liquids. Add the Calamata olives, garlic, shallot, oregano, parsley, thyme and crushed red pepper. Stir in the olive oil and let the mixture stand for 1 hour.
2. Open the Italian bread on a work surface. Spoon the olive salad on both sides of the bread and spread evenly. Arrange the mozzarella slices on the bottom half of the bread, then top with the capocollo, Genoa salami and mortadella. Arrange the provolone cheese on the top half of the bread, covering the olive salad completely. Carefully close the sandwich. Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic and let stand for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Cut the sandwich into 8 pieces and serve peperoncini on the side.
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