Yesterday was Super Tuesday and Fat Tuesday, so I decided to celebrate with the super-fat New Orleans sandwich known as the muffuletta. Though lesser-known than the Big Easy's other big-bread creation, the po'boy, today's 'Wich of the Week is just as beloved.
Invented about a century ago by the French Quarter's Central Grocery, this sandwich is made on massive rounds of Italian bread cut into quarters; one sandwich easily feeds two to four people. I've never been able to find the bread outside of New Orleans, so I substitute seeded kaiser rolls.
The key to a good muffuletta — which features piles of ham, salami, mortadella, and provolone cheese — is Italian olive salad. Central Grocery closely guards its recipe, but Boscoli's version is hard to beat. This time I decided to make my own, and I was quite pleased with the results.
For the olive salad:
- 1 cup green pimiento-stuffed olives, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup diced carrot
- 2 gloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, finely chopped
- 2 T. dried parsley
- 1 T. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 T. white-wine vinegar
- 2 T. lemon juice
For the sandwich:
- 2 slices mortadella
- 2 slices ham
- 4 slices salami
- 3 slices provolone cheese
- Olive salad
- One seeded kaiser roll or similar
How to make it:
- Preferably one day in advance, make the olive salad. Combine all 11 ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Store overnight in a tightly sealed container.
- Next, slice the seeded rolls in half, hamburger bun-style, and hollow out the top slice by scraping out most of the fluffy bread.
- On the bottom slice, spread a thin layer of olive salad, just enough to hold the sandwich together.
- Atop that slice, stack the mortadella, ham, salami, and cheese.
- Then, fill the hollowed-out section of the top slice with a generous helping of olive salad.
- Assemble the sandwich by placing the olive-filled half of the roll atop the meat, and slice in half to eat.