Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Orleans Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe and more N.O. Recipes

Here's a my version of New Orleans' famous Muffuletta Sandwich. Missing my youthful adventures in The Big Easy, I came up with this recipe for a picnic at the Hollywood Bowl -- a night of New Orleans music with Dr. John and Pete Fountain. This is also perfect fare for tailgate parties or even watching the big game at home, or any other kind of entertaining. Since you can make it well in advance, it helps makes the event stress free for the host/hostess.

While we used ham and salami, you could substitute your favorite blend of cold cuts instead.

This sandwich was invented and made famous at New Orleans' Central Grocery Store, a French quarter landmark. It's the olive salad that makes this sandwich what is is. You could pay a bunch of money and buy a muffuletta type olive salad in a jar at a gourmet shop. But if you have a food processor, it's quick and easy to make at home.

Although technically a salad, this recipe is usually served as a spread, as in this sandwich. However, it is a versatile ingredient that can be used to season pastas, vegetable and meat dishes as well. Think of using this much in the same way you could use pesto.

Muffuletta Olive Salad

1/2 cup black brine cured olives, such as kalamatas
1/2 cup green olives
1 cup finely chopped celery, with leaves
1 cup Giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables)
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
3-4 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pit olives (if necessary) and combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixed, but still somewhat chunky -- do not puree (see photo). For the best flavor, cover and refrigerate for a few hours before using.

Muffuletta Sandwich -- Serves 6

1 recipe olive salad (see above)
1 8-10 inch round loaf of French bread
4-6 ounces sliced smoked ham
4-6 ounces sliced Genoa salami
4-6 ounces Provolone cheese
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced

Cut the bread horizontally in half. Remove some of the soft center to allow room for the filling (use bread centers for another purpose). Spread half the olive salad on the bottom of the bread. Follow with a layer of cheese, followed by layers of meat and veggies. Finish off with another layer of cheese and the remaining olive salad. Wrap sandwich tightly in foil and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving (you can make this a day ahead of time and it will still be great). Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. Cut into 6 wedges to serve.

Recommended Reading:
New Orleans Food: More Than 225 of the City's Best Recipes to Cook at Home
by Tom Fitzmorris

It's obvious that New Orleans native Fitzmorris knows these recipes intimately well. His descriptions and background information really help to bring this vibrant cuisine even more to life. His instructions are clear and concise yet detailed, making the recipes well within the grasp of even beginning cooks. Many of the recipes in this book are based on those served at classic New Orleans restaurants, some are historic recipes. Not to worry, Fitzmorris has adapted them for today's home cooks, and always gives tips and details to make preparation seamless.

Long respected as one of New Orleans' premier restaurant critics, his radio program The Food Show is broadcast daily on WSMB. Netsters can subscribe to The New Orleans Menu, a daily internet New Orleans restaurant review newsletter (www.nomenu.com). With this book we predict Fitzmorris will reach a much larger audience. Even if you can't visit the Big Easy, these recipes will bring the flavor of it into your home kitchen, and Fitzmorris's entertaining commentary is the next best thing to being there.

A portion of the benefits of this book will benefit Habitat for Humantity.

Sample Recipes from New Orleans Food
  • New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp -- One of the four best dishes in all of New Orleans cooking, this dish was created in the mid-1950s at Pascal's Manale Restaurant.
  • Redfish with Sizzling Crab and Herbs -- Use your favorite white fish to make this crab stuffed fish recipe that's topped with clarified butter.
  • Bread Pudding Alaska -- This rich, beautiful and really delicious bread pudding, made with lots of eggs, cream, and cinnamon, is a thing apart.


Emily said...

This looks delcious! I have always heard about this sandwich and have seen it in a few books and magazines, but the olives have always held me off from making it . . . but your recipe makes me want to venture out! Yum!

Cheri Sicard said...

Give it a try. The olive salad is a pretty versatile utility ingredient to have around too.

Post a Comment

Please leave us a comment