I recall growing up and my parents really loving a particular sandwich. I never really understood the love of the sandwich until I visited New Orleans last year. Sure, my wife and I made an attempt to try as much of the food in so little time, but simply got stuck on the wonderful shrimp Po’ Boys from Johnny’s in New Orleans, among other things. After some research on some of the eateries, we came across a famous store known as the Central Grocery. I told my wife that we just had to try their sandwich, known as the muffuletta. My wife, not knowing what the heck a muffuletta was, seemed happy to try something new, so we strolled to the grocery and I fell in love. Everything about the interior. A couple of the owners were running the show behind the counter.
Very old school Italian style, they looked the type that you didn’t want to joke around with, just order the sandwich and go sit down. As we waited in the very long line, we began to observe the ordering process. Grab your chips, gaze at the local Italian goodies, then place your order. I ordered their famous muffuletta, and my wife, after realizing there was an olive salad as being part of the sandwich, decided to have everything but the olive salad. I chuckled and informed her that the olive salad is what makes the muffuletta, but she enjoyed the sandwich, and experience regardless.
Well, this past week was a big day of football for the state of Wisconsin. It was a Green Bay Packer playoff game. The big question on these types of days is ‘What should to eat for the game?’. My wife wanted nachos. I wanted the muffuletta. I could not help thinking about the flavors of this sandwich. I had most, if not all of the ingredients, so it was game on for me. Lets get started on making this sandwich.
Ingredients for the sandwich:
- 1 round loaf of Italian bread, crusty outside, about 10 inches in diameter
- 4 slices of Genoa salami
- 4 slices of thinly sliced ham
- 4 slices of mortadella
- 3 slices of provolone cheese
- 3 slices of swiss cheese
- olive salad (see below)
Ingredients for the Olive Salad:
- 1 jar of giardiniera mix or your own
- 1/2 cup of Greek pitted kalamata olives, chopped
- 2 cups of green olives with pimentos, chopped
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp of red chili flakes
- 2 tbsp of capers, chopped
- 6 pepperoncini peppers, stems removed, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of olive oil
Begin by making your olive salad first. Chop and mix everything in a bowl, then store in sealed tight container in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. Overnight is best. When you are ready to make the sandwich, slice the Italian round loaf horizontally. Remove some of the interior of the bread as it is a lot of bread. Place a generous amount of the olive salad with oil on the base of the bread. Your next decision is how do you want to layer it. Cheese first? Meat? I start with the slices of salami, then the provolone cheese, the ham, the swiss cheese, then the mortadella. Place more olive salad on top, placing the top of the bread on top. Push down slightly, then with your bread knife, cut into half, then cut into wedges.
Trust me when I say this. It is a perfect sandwich. The flavors of the olive salad, along with the great balance of cheeses and Italian cold cuts, really reminds me of New Orleans, and goes to show that anyone can make this sandwich. Perfect for any occasion, but it especially good watching a sporting event on television. The sandwich holds up as a great leftover as well. Enjoy.