If you are about to get on a plane to New Orleans then I suggest you just move along. An authentic muffuletta sandwich awaits you, at Central Grocery in the French Quarter, and in no way could I compete with such perfection.
But I ain't headed down there, see. And neither are a lot of my peeps. For this reason, along with the fact that none of the foodservice establishments in my vicinity knows how to make a respectable version of the sandwich, I am forced go it alone when the mood strikes.
And it strikes often.
Often enough that I have taken to preparing the most important ingredient of the muffuletta, the olive salad.
These are the makings of a small batch of the olive salad.
And here is the finished product. (See the recipe below.)
As for the sandwich's other ingredients, Central Grocery goes with a combination of salami, capicola, pepperoni, ham, provolone and emmentaler cheese. I am not strict on this point, and you shouldn't be either. My muffuletta rarely is missing a little mortadella, for instance. I find salami to be a critical ingredient as well, along with provolone. Beyond those three things I am pretty flexible.
The bread can be a touchy subject. Tradition calls for a soft, round, seeded Sicilian-type roll, and purists will accept no other. I just go with the best bread that's available at the time.
On the other hand, if you happen to be in the Quarter and want to pick me up some authentic muffuletta bread, I would not be averse to accepting such a kindness.
Olive Salad Recipe
Makes 1 quart
1 1/2 cups green olives, pitted
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1 cup Gardiniera
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
1 tbsp. capers
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. scallion, chopped
1/8 cup celery, chopped
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. oregano
Red pepper flakes to taste
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
On a flat work surface crush all the olives, either by hand or with the flat surface of a large knife.
In a large bowl combine the olives with all the other ingredients except the olive oil.
After all the ingredients have been fully combined, pour an ample amount of olive oil over them and mix.
Empty into a 1 quart jar, close and refrigerate for about a week before using. This will allow the flavors to properly meld.