HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What are you cooking today? Share your food adventure
TELL US

Muffalettas?

p
pomme de terre Feb 15, 2007 05:21 AM

I was thinking about making Muffalettas for a Mardi Gras party. Does anyone have a good recipe? I swear I saw an Everyday Italian episode where she made a terrific-looking one, but I can't find the recipe anywhere.

As a side note, do you think muffalettas are an OK entree for a dinner party? I feel like it's such a cop-out to made a huge sandwich, but they are tasty and easy for a dinner party, so I can actually spend time with my guests. The runner-up option is red beans and rice. (And if you have a good recipe for those, let 'er rip!)

  1. c
    ChefGirlRD96 Aug 14, 2008 10:04 AM

    This is a fantastic recipe. I have won several cooking awards from some 4 star chefs . Check this out.
    http://www.notecook.com/Appetizers/Sa...

    1. p
      pomme de terre Feb 21, 2007 09:16 AM

      Just wanted to report back -- I ended up using the Giadi de Laurentiis recipe, and it came out well. I popped the loaf in a warm oven for a few minutes before serving, but I don't even think it made much of a difference.

      The taste of all the meats and the olive relish was delish, and some people even had seconds. I really liked the olive relish, and it was the perfect amount. I probably used only a quarter of a red onion, even though the recipe calls for a half. I like red onion, but I was worried the flavor would be too overwhelming.

      It was really easy to make, but sort of hard to cut. (I invested in good bread from Atwater's, per everyone's suggestion not to skimp on the crust.) That may be just a function of my crappy knives, though. I would definitely make it again -- it feeds a crowd and you can do pretty much all of it in advance, which makes it an ideal dinner party dish.

      So many thanks to everyone who offered suggestions! I'm eating the leftovers today and tomorrow for lunch. Mmmm.

      1. JeffW Feb 17, 2007 05:36 PM

        If interested, you might want to give the following recipe a good scrutinizing! I'm a Los Angeles city slicker, and probably not the best judge of what "authentic" Muffaletta is. That being said, the following recipe is one that appeared in Gourmet Magazine, many years ago. To my taste, it is absolutely awesome. And when I've shared it with others, I am hounded for the recipe. This entree sandwich is made on a regular basis in our home.

        Cheers,
        Jeff

        MUFFULETTA
        (Olive Salad, Sausage, and Provolone Sandwich)

        In a ceramic, glass, or stainless steel bowl, combine the following, and let the salad stand covered overnight at room temperature:

        1 ½ cups chopped pimiento-stuffed olives-( I buy a 10 oz. drained weight jar of “Star” brand spanish salad olives. They are already broken, and therefore, very easy to chop. And since almost the entire jar goes into this salad, it is a convenient way to go.)
        1 cup chopped Kalamata olives
        2/3 cup olive oil
        1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
        a 4 oz. jar of chopped pimientos, drained
        3 anchovy filets, minced and mashed to a paste
        2 Tablespoons drained capers
        1 Tablespoon minced garlic
        1 Tablespoon minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried flakes, rubbed between fingers to a powder.
        Pepper to taste

        The next day, in a fine sieve set over a bowl, drain the salad, reserving the dressing.

        Horizontally split a 9 inch round loaf of Italian bread, with seeds, or without. Remove the crumb from the top and bottom shells, leaving each shell ½ inch thick. Brush the insides of the shells generously with some of the reserved dressing and mound half the salad in the bottom shell, pressing it in firmly. Place a layer of each of the following, all thinly sliced, on top of the bottom salad filled half.

        ¼ pound soppressato (Italian salami)
        ¼ pound provolone
        ¼ pound mortadella

        Mound the remaining salad over the mortadella, leaving a ¾ inch rim, and cover with the top shell. Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap, and then foil. Chill the sandwich with a 3-5 pound weight on top, for at least 30 minutes, or even an entire day.

        Let the sandwich come to room temperature, and cut into wedges. Serves 4.

        The 9 inch loaf is arbitrary. A 9 inch loaf is 64 square inches, and roughly a 4 x 14 inch oblong loaf is fine to use too.

        Enjoy!

        1. chowser Feb 17, 2007 09:07 AM

          What do you all think of doing this with the no knead bread? Does it have to be refrigerated? I'd love to bring it for a quick lunch for skiing. Maybe I could use nonrefrigerated meats and cheeses?

          3 Replies
          1. re: chowser
            m
            MakingSense Feb 17, 2007 11:18 AM

            I'm French. I grew up in New Orleans. I don't make bread. I buy bread.
            The bread should be like a crusty roll. Or a very large roll. The muffuletta bread in NOLA is about 8" in diameter, 2 1/2 inches thick. Each bite should have crust top and bottom. Will the Bittman bread give you that? If so, it will work.
            The cured meats, cheeses and marinated olive salad will keep well for quite a while without spoiling. I've brought these back from NOLA to my family in Washington and they were unrefrigerated for hours with no ill-effects. Things don't spoil nearly as quickly as the food nannies squawk about. But as I said, I'm French. People don't drop dead along the Champs Elysée from foods left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
            If you're outside skiing, won't the sandwich be pretty cold?

            1. re: MakingSense
              chowser Feb 17, 2007 04:51 PM

              Thanks! I think the Bittman bread would be perfect but I might make it slightly less crusty to make it easier to eat. I'll be skiing but the sandwich will be sitting in the conference room at heated temperature, plus it'll be in the car for two hours before that. I'd take the risk if it were just myself but it's a whole group--maybe I'll go w/ the unrefrigerated meat/cheeses just in case.

              1. re: chowser
                m
                MakingSense Feb 17, 2007 06:15 PM

                The bread will soften up a lot anyway from the oil and vinegar dressing so I wouldn't worry about making it less crusty. When we've bought even really crusty ones to take out and kept them, or had left overs (not often) they did get soft.
                I wonder how close this bread is to ciabatta breads? I'll have to try that.
                Remember how many times we used to take our school lunches early in the morning and not get around to finishing them until after school? And we're not dead? But better not to take a chance with your friends.
                Have a great time!

          2. DanaB Feb 16, 2007 03:01 PM

            I hosted a 40th birthday party last summer and made Muffalettas. I used a recipe posted by WileysHungryAgain, which was excellent, super-delicious, and pronounced "authentic" by those in attendance who were familiar with the "real thing". Here's a link to the thread:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/307843

            1. f
              FAL Feb 16, 2007 12:57 PM

              Hey pommes de terre. Try this company
              Pagliaggi
              They make A Hot Muffuletta Italian Olive Salad or regular .
              It will cutdown on your prep time and every time I make muffuletta's I use Pagliaggi . They make a great olive salad.

              1. v
                venera Feb 16, 2007 10:20 AM

                Oh, LAWD, the muffaletta's at Central Grocery. I am drooling all over my keyboard.

                My mom recreated a muffaletta pizza she saw Emeril do, and it was damn good. That might be an option for you if you're having problems finding/making olive relish in time and the right bread. Those two items truly are what make the muffaletta such a divine creation.

                http://www.emerils.com/recipes/by_nam...

                I know this may be sacreligious, but....one night my dining parter ordered a muffaletta at a local restaurant (in Baltimore). The server asked if he'd like that heated. I was shocked--you're not supposed to heat a muffaletta! But he ordered it toasted, and oh. mah. gad. was is good. The gooeyness and heat made it a completely different taste sensation, and the bread was extra crispy as a result of the toasting.

                Guess you just can't do wrong with such a divine thing.

                cheers!

                9 Replies
                1. re: venera
                  m
                  MakingSense Feb 16, 2007 12:08 PM

                  Many places in New Orleans heat their muffulettas. Lots of locals have their own favorites, hot and cold, which aren't necessarily from Central Grocery. That's the best known because it's in the French Quarter and where tourist first experience them. They have a great one and was my main source when I lived two blocks from there.
                  The recipe for Olive Salad I posted above is from NOLA food critic Tom Fitzmorris who likes the muffs at Napoleon House. My family liked the muffs from DiMartino's on the West Bank better than Central's and theirs are served hot.
                  Lots of choices, lots of variation on a terrific sandwich.
                  The two absolute essentials are: good bread and good olive salad.
                  Emeril should take his muffuleta pizza back to Rhode Island.

                  1. re: MakingSense
                    l
                    laylag Feb 16, 2007 12:37 PM

                    The reason you give for the popularity of the Central Grocery version is probably true but as a committed chowhound albeit a tourist too, I was in search of the best one, not necessarily in the Quarter and many, many, non-touristy sources pointed to Central and it was terrific.

                    However, next time there will have to take your suggestion and head DiMartino's. I'm partial to hot sandwiches and an excellent hot muffuleta must be awesome.

                  2. re: venera
                    Davwud Feb 16, 2007 02:03 PM

                    I've never been to NOLA, much less Central Grocery but I was under the impression that they were more or less headed through to get the cheese a little gooey and get the oils in the meat loose.

                    DT

                    1. re: Davwud
                      Davwud Feb 17, 2007 06:00 AM

                      Ooops, I meant HEATED THROUGH. Not headed through.

                      DT

                      1. re: Davwud
                        m
                        MakingSense Feb 17, 2007 07:34 AM

                        We knew what you meant.
                        Central Grocery doesn't heat their muffulatta. Good thing, too. The lines are already ridiculous.
                        I'm a New Orleans native and have eaten muffs at places all over the city, some heated, some not. It is one of the best sandwiches in the world. Ever!
                        The quality is determined by the Olive Salad and the bread, including its crustiness and the amount of bread in proportion to the meat.
                        The best Olive Salads have stuff besides olives, usually various types of pickled vegetables, like the kind you find in giardiniera., in an oil and vinegar dressing. New Orleans has a huge Italian community and that's where this sandwich originated. Olive salad is often thrown into green salads and on other sandwiches.
                        The bread also came from one of the many Italian bakeries. A lot of the muff places will remove some of the bread from the center of a round loaf so there's not too much bread in relation to the meats and olive salad.
                        Some of the oil and vinegar dressing from the olive salad should soak into the bread not just sit on the meat.

                        Davwud, get thee to Decatur Street. Eat a Muffuletta before another year passes. Your life is incomplete

                        1. re: MakingSense
                          Davwud Feb 17, 2007 08:14 AM

                          I would so love to. Unfortunately my muffaletta experience is limited to McAllister's Deli or my own home made. And I don't have access to the right type of bread.
                          Actually, the last few times I've made them, I've made muffaletta panini. They're excellent. Not the real deal but a helluva sandwich none the less.

                          So I guess the big guestion is, Mortadella or not and mozzarella or not??

                          Mine have neither.

                          DT

                          1. re: Davwud
                            m
                            MakingSense Feb 17, 2007 08:38 AM

                            IMHO, after a lifetime of eating them, Genoa, ham, mortadella,provalone, and mozzarella, make a nice combo. Variations such as capicolla for the ham or another salmi might be OK as long as you stay with Italian stuff. No Asian or Hispanic fusion or the gris-gris will get you. No cheddar, gorgonzola or goat cheese. Put those on a cheese tray for later.
                            Use bread with a crust all over - like a roll - or it's a mixed-meat sandwich/panini. You need crust in every bite. I've used Kaiser-type rolls when I've been able to get them or good Italian bread regardless of the shape. The crusty muffuletta loaves sold in New Orleans stores are about 8" in diameter, about 2 1/2 to 3 inches thick, but people often remove some of the bread from the center when they make muffs.

                            1. re: MakingSense
                              Davwud Feb 17, 2007 09:28 AM

                              I use hot Genoa and black forest ham. Also, the oldest provolone I can find. Something with a nice bite to balance out the brininess of the salad and the heat of the Genoa.
                              Other than that, the bread is the key to every sandwich. Use the wrong kind and/or the wrong proportion, it's not a good sandwich.

                              I shall try to make my own next or use some nice kaisers.

                              DT

                              1. re: Davwud
                                m
                                MakingSense Feb 17, 2007 11:06 AM

                                A commonly used brand of ham in New Orleans is Chisesi (local Italian family-owned company) which is not as dry as Black Forest. More like Virginia Baked Ham from a regular deli. Probably higher water and fat content.
                                I don't think that the cold cuts used in Muffulettas are particularly high end. The beauty is more the sum of the parts.
                                The olive salad and bread are key.

                  3. m
                    MakingSense Feb 15, 2007 09:21 PM

                    Tom Fitzmorris's new book New Orleans Food has a recipe for Olive Salad and instructions for making a Muffuletta. He's the local food critic who maintains www.nomenu.com. The cookbook is a good one and the notes on local dishes are excellent so buy it. Portions of the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity. I'm pulling this one out a lot lately.

                    I'm not going to give the "from scratch" version because of the copyright restrictions but Fitzmorris say that you can make an olive salad using about a quart of prepared Italian giardiniera, coarsely chopped. You would have to add about an equal amount of pitted, coarsely-chopped green and brine-cured black olives and 1/4 cup of capers. Marinate the chopped giardiniera and olives in 1 1/2 cups olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup brining juice from olives. The mixture needs to marinate at least a day but a week is better.

                    Of course, you then have the problem of finding the right bread...

                    1. e
                      eimac Feb 15, 2007 04:42 PM

                      The olive salad is easy
                      I use this and keep it around for regular sandwiches too

                      Muffuleta Olive Relish

                      1/2 cup green olives with pimentos
                      1/2 cup black olives
                      1/4 cup onion
                      1/4 cup fresh parsley
                      2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
                      1 tablespoon garlic, minced
                      1 teaspoon capers, optional
                      1/4 teaspoon oregano
                      1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                      1/3 cup olive oil
                      1 stalk celery

                      Coarsely chop all ingredients except olive oil Stir in olive oil and refrigerate at least one hour before using. Will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

                      1. o
                        oltheimmer Feb 15, 2007 04:15 PM

                        cajungrocer.com sells Boscoli Olive salad : http://www.cajungrocer.com/food-condi...

                        I think I remember something on the label claiming it was the original, but I may be wrong (haven't bought any in a couple of years). I've seen it on the shelves here and also another brand I can't remember the name of. We started seeing more Cajun products on the shelves here since the big influx of Katrina evacuees.

                        Love a muffaletta -- ah gahruntee.

                        1. l
                          laylag Feb 15, 2007 09:24 AM

                          I love muffalettas and think it's a great idea. Many, myself included, consider the Central Grocery muffaletta to be the definitive version. It is, as others said, all about the olive salad and the bread. Both are amazing at Central. I believe you can order from them. Here's some info on Central Grocery and a phone number. If they do indeed ship the olive salad, I'd buy their's rather than making the FN show version. http://travel.micronomy.com/list.asp?...

                          I think the rice and beans would be great to serve also rather than instead of. If you're adventurous, some good gumbo would be a great item to have too, or jambalaya, or etouffe or...well, I could go on but won't.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: laylag
                            d
                            drgnflychic Feb 15, 2007 09:27 AM

                            Mmm... Some crawfish etouffee would go great too! It's pretty easy to make. I would almost do all 3 - if you're having a decent sized group over. Totally Cajun!

                            Side note: I made some once because my ex loved it, I forgot the tomato paste - it was awful! Don't forget the tomato paste!

                          2. Katie Nell Feb 15, 2007 08:44 AM

                            Here's the recipe you were thinking of: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/r... FN spells it muffuletta. I think it would be a fun dinner party dish! I've made this particular recipe before, but didn't taste it- it was well received for the people I cooked for.

                            1. d
                              drgnflychic Feb 15, 2007 08:38 AM

                              I love that idea! Muffalettas are so yummy and would go great with a side of red beans and rice. Olive relish should be that hard to make but it is certainly the key ingredient to a delicious sandwich.

                              I might have to copy your idea... ; )

                              1. c
                                CDouglas Feb 15, 2007 07:34 AM

                                This sandwich is all about the bread and olive salad.

                                Here is a recipe for the bread:
                                http://www.nolacuisine.com/2005/08/21...

                                1. s
                                  Spencer Feb 15, 2007 07:05 AM

                                  Toward the end of this page there is a recipe. Looks pain-staking for the olive salad- not a cop out imho:
                                  http://www.gumbopages.com/food/samwic...

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Spencer
                                    y
                                    Yongeman Feb 16, 2007 03:15 AM

                                    Thanks for the fantastic description and great recipe, Spencer. Can't wait to try it (although, I won't be making it in that quantity!).

                                    1. re: Yongeman
                                      s
                                      Spencer Feb 16, 2007 05:39 AM

                                      I know! I wish they would have scaled it down a bit.

                                  Show Hidden Posts