Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Homemade muffuletta

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.


Anonymous said...

Have you tried Po' Boys & Pickles on Forest Avenue?

Fred said...

Signor Polpetta: How many holiday parties will YOU attend where they serve the dreaded 6-foot hero sandwich? In the sticks where you are, probably not so much. For me, however, far too many. If only they could be 6-foot long muffulettas. Probably a good chance of holiday parties only in New Orleans from here on.

Mister Meatball said...

Fred: Why not carry around a small jar of the olive salad when you go to these parties. With any luck the other guests will have been at the punch bowl, and would therefore not notice your "contribution" to the six-footers.

Mister Meatball said...

I have tried PB&P's muff, yeah. Twice, in fact.

Very disappointing.

Claudia said...

I make a mean mufeletta - but it has no plan. Meaning... I'd happily try yours.

Anonymous said...

Your love for central grocery is bizarre. That place is a tourist trap. There are far better sandwiches to be had in Nola.

pedrone bonehead said...

Excellent recipe - you are right about the bread- same thing as po'boy

if one desires a muffaletta at 3:00 a.m. - the Verti Marte at 1201 Royal ( I used to live a block down until I met this creole lady whom I married) is an excellent choice both for it's patrons and sandwich

the Napoleon House has an interesting variation on the muffaletta - warm w/chickpeas, which is delicious with a pimm's cup

what they call the olive salad in the local vernacular shocked me a bit a first (it starts with a "w.. salad" even appears on menus! but they mean no harm

Mister Meatball said...

Anonymous: I'm not gonna argue whose is better. But I've never been disappointed by Central's muff.

Bonehead: You're killin me!