Years ago, my wife and I went on our honeymoon to New Orleans. While preparing our trip, I mapped out a bunch of places that I wanted to hit once we arrived. Most were all in the French Quarter and we just loved walking down streets like Decatur and Chatres as well as checking out places like Jackson Square.
But, it was the food stops that had me most excited. Cafe du Monde, Johnny’s Po-Boys, Antoines, Coop’s Place and Central Grocery & Deli are just a handful of stops we made to taste some classic New Orlean’s cuisine.
The muffuletta sandwich originated at the Central Grocery & Deli in the French Quarter in New Orleans. This store is filled with cured meats, cheeses and imported olive oil and other food products. But, it the muffuletta that many people go there to try.
The muffuletta sandwich is made with a large round loaf of bread. Some people use a bread similar to focaccia, while others use sourdough or other crusty round bread. Inside the bread, there is layer upon layer of sliced cured meat, cheese and an olive salad spread.
The whole muffuletta is then sliced into 8 pie shaped wedges. This is ideal for a party, tailgating, or anytime you have a crowd coming over!
Even though there are many kinds of cured meats and cheeses used in a muffuletta, it is the olive salad spread that makes the muffuletta what it truly is. There is so much flavour packed in the olive salad that I could eat a whole bowl of it on its own.
There are many different versions or takes on the olive salad, with some using a bunch of ingredients and others using mostly olives. My version of the olive salad spread includes lots of different ingredients including olives, roasted red peppers, capers, celery and green onions.
For my recipe check it out here:
For the bread, any crusty artisanal rustic round loaf can work. I have a recipe for Artisan Bread which works perfect for muffuletta. If using this recipe, in step 5, try to flatten the ball of dough so it is wider and does not rise so high.
Evenly spread half of the lunchmeat on the bottom half of the bread and then top with half of the sliced cheese. Repeat with remaining lunchmeat and cheese.
I like to finish with one thin layer of meat at the very top. This creates a barrier between the cheese and the liquid from the olive salad spread.
Spoon the olive salad tapenade spread evenly on top.
Place the top half of the bread on top. One thing I like to do is compress the sandwich. This is done by taking a baking sheet and placing it on top of the muffuletta. Press down firmly to compress the muffuletta for about two minutes.
Finally, brush the top of the loaf with melted butter. Slice into wedges and serve.
- 1 large round bread loaf artisan or sourdough
- 1/2 pound capocollo or prosciutto sliced
- 1/2 pound mortadella sliced
- 1/2 pound ham sliced
- 1/2 pound soppressata or salami sliced
- 3/4 pound provolone or mozzarella sliced
- 2 cups olive salad spread
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- Slice the bread in half horizontally.
- Evenly spread half of the lunchmeat on the bottom half of the bread loaf. Take half of the cheese and spread on top of the meat. Repeat with remaining meat and cheese.
- Spoon the olive salad spread on top of the cheese and spread so that it is an even thickness.
- Place the top half of the bread on top. Take a baking sheet and place on top of the muffuletta. Press down for a couple minutes to compress the sandwich.
- Brush with melted butter, slice into wedges and serve.