The Muffaletta

muffaletta-sandwichIn my previous life, I worked for a major corporation as an advertising manager. I loved my job. One of the best parts of my job was travel to New Orleans for the Pittsburgh Conference every single year. There is no doubt that New Orleans is the haven of unbelievably good food, and one of the best things I learned to make on one trip down there was the Muffaletta Sandwich.

There are probably several different versions of this sandwich, but I’m Italian. So that means I like the original that includes Italian cold cuts. I also recommend Italian Focaccia bread as an alternative to what you’d find in New Orleans. This can come in many different forms: A whole loaf, or square formats that are ideal for sandwiches. Some include olive oil and rosemary. Some include cheese. Doesn’t matter what you choose. As my work associates, who are much younger than I, say, “It’s all good.” If you use a whole loaf, it should feed three people comfortably. So, this recipe is giving you enough ingredients for three sandwiches, whatever bread you choose to use.

The highlight of this sandwich is the olive spread. It’s what gives it a kick. My recommendation is that you make the olive spread the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. It’s also important that you give this sandwich proper “resting” time once it is assembled. (This sandwich reminds me of the Italian “subs” my mother used to make for us for Friday night supper.)

A nice big fat glass of red wine is ideal to go along with this (I like Cigar Box Malbec myself).

Ingredients for Olive Spread

1 cup of pitted olives, chopped (use a mix here of black, green, kalamata…)

1 tbsp minced shallots

1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips, roughly chopped

2 tbsp capers, rinsed, dried and chopped

4 Pepperoncini, roughly chopped

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp oregano, Tuscan seasoning or Italian seasoning (for the latter two, McCormick makes a great little mix)

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Mix these ingredients together and put them in the refrigerator overnight.

Ingredients for Sandwich

One loaf of Focaccia bread (or three individual, square Focaccias)

4 oz of Genoa salami

4 oz of Hot or Sweet Capicola

4 oz of Mortadella

4 oz of Prosciutto

4 oz of Provolone Cheese

Directions

If the bread is thick (and it usually is), hollow out a bit of the inside. Place a health portion of the olive salad on both the top and bottom of the bread.

Layer meat and cheese onto bottom half, and place the top on the sandwich.

Wrap the entire sandwich in either plastic wrap or aluminum foil (or both) and put a brick on top of the sandwich. (Yes, you read that right.) Allow the sandwich to sit for one hour so that the bread soaks up the olive spread.

Serve with a big ass glass of red wine. Simply unbelievable.

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