Since the Super Bowl is right around the corner, I thought I’d post one of my favorite recipes for a crowd: the muffuletta. This sandwich is rich with history; its origins trace back to New Orleans, to a spot known as Central Grocery. It’s made on a large round loaf, piled high with olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone. The sandwich is then cut into halves or quarters to be shared.
Now, I admit it, I’ve never had one from Central Grocery, but I was lucky enough to try one at Napoleon House on Chartres Street last January, and it was delicious! Before that I had to fend for myself in the Mid-Atlantic, trying to create my own version. The recipe below was used to feed a few of my husband’s friends at Super Bowl XLVII, back in 2013 when the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers. And yes, the Super Bowl was held in New Orleans that year…I obviously pay attention to those details and thus, decided to make the Muffuletta. I think (and hope!) that the boys liked the sandwich. From what I recall, it received good reviews.
I decided to make the sandwich again last week so that my husband could have ready made lunches for the week. It’s really quite simple to put together, the only drag is purchasing and assembling the ingredients (the man at the deli counter seemed quite agitated with my long list). I decided to not make my own olive salad this time around, but I’m sure doing so would really add to the experience. If you are short on time and want to go my route and purchase olive salad, I recommend the brand Alpino. But there are many other options and of course Central Grocery sells their own too.
1 large round loaf Italian bread sliced in half (horizontally)
1/4 pound sliced mozzarella
1/4 pound sliced provolone cheese
6 ounces sliced capocollo
1/4 pound sliced Genoa salami
1/4 pound sliced mortadella
1 8 oz jar olive salad/Italian style sandwich topping
Slice open the Italian loaf on a cutting board. Spread the olive salad on both sides of the bread. Layer the bottom half of the bread with the mozzarella, capocollo, salami, and mortadella. Then top off the layers with the provolone cheese. I typically put some provolone on top of the olive salad on the other half as well, just to make sure the salad really seeps into the bread. Close the sandwich as best you can. I usually lose an olive or two during the process!
Then, wrap the sandwich up tight in plastic wrap and let stand for about 30 minutes to an hour. Place a cast iron pan on top of the sandwich to help flatten it out a bit. Cut the sandwich into 6-8 pieces and serve with your favorite sides. This time around I opted for tomato soup and some peperoncinis. Enjoy!