Muffaletta Sandwiches: A life long appreciation

Muffaletta Sandwiches

This sandwich has haunted me. So many hours were spent mulling over how to build this happy little masterpiece, and even more time went into finding the perfect ingredients. I spent over a week trying to find a place that sold olives in bulk at a deli. I wanted to choose exactly which olives and peppers went into this thing.

Olives

I visited at least five grocery stores. It was insane. Why is it so hard to find a good olive selection? It’s such a simple request, really. After much searching and disappointments, I had the olives and peppers in hand, I was so excited they even made a instagram appearance. But then I wanted to learn all about how this sandwich came into being.

Before making these I had never actually eaten a muffaletta before. I guess that means I can’t really make a comparison to the original, but I know one thing. This sandwich is a life changer. I’m going to put olive spread on everything now.

Olive spread

Everything.

I’m super excited.

To start with, I need to properly express just how much I love sandwiches. Ice cream sandwiches, pb and j sanwiches, sub sandwiches, hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, cookie sandwiches, sandwiches of all colors and races. I don’t discriminate! My first memory of a sandwich was when I was still in preschool and my mom packed a honey and peanut butter sandwich on white bread to take to a friends “picnic” next door. Sweet delicious memories.

When I was 10, my family moved to Chicago and discovered the beauty of Schlotsky’s Deli where we would often eat their toasty melty choices for lunch after church. I loved that sandwich place; it felt so cool and hip, even when wearing church clothes. Sandwich love.

Olives

Not to mention the one little Subway shop in Brazil that we always considered a treat to visit when I was in high school. If my mom dropped off me and my sister a Subway sandwich for lunch–that was a good day. It didn’t matter that we had swimming for PE that morning, all was right with the world. I was actually born on International Sandwich Day. Tell me how that isn’t destiny! I was born to appreciate the hearty lunch fare of every brown bagging school child.

Muffaletta Sandwiches

So when I learned of this famous Louisiana creation I knew I had to try it. And lucky for me it’s Mardi Gras time so it’s perfect. What better thing to pack with you as you run out the door with your strands of beads to rock all day in the party buses and parades? Muffalettas are perfect for packing because they get better as they sit.

Olives and Peppers

Chee-yah. That’s right. Unlike almost every other sandwich you know of, these get better with age. They were designed that way! The Italiain immigrants used to bring a myriad of tasty lunchy items to work with them and eat the huge rounds of muffaletta bread loaves piled high with cheese, meat, and olives. Overtime they started stacking all the ingredients inside the loaf for better transportation and voila! (Or whatever the word for “voila” is in Italian. Eureka? Bravissimo? Something like that.) Muffalettas!

Muffaletta Sandwiches

I’m forever indebted to the Italians for this one. You guys are spot on.

Let’s talk about this sandwich, shall we? Originally, Muffaletta sammies are made on bona fide muffaletta bread loaves. But I guess you can’t really get those unless you live in New Orleans. Come on, people! Share the love. San Jose could get on the muffaletta bread train, I’m sure. Let’s make that happen.

Muffaletta Sandwiches

Anyway, I could have made a fresh loaf myself but finding a recipe proved difficult and after a week of searching for olives I had little patience left. According to wikipedia, muffaletta is a soft round of bread with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. So soft sandwich rolls with sesame seeds it is! Of course I couldn’t resist doctoring them up a bit, so I gave the buns a quick toast in my skillet to give it that brown crunch.

Toassted Buns for Muffaletta Sandwiches

Then it’s layer time. There are a variety of meats and cheeses out there that people claim are necessary for the perfect Muffaletta. I chose ones based on three factors:

Muffaletta Sandwiches

1, If they sounded hearty and filling – these are going to be dinner sandwiches: no wimps here!

2. Not too crazy expensive (living on a budget, baby!)

3. The standard test of time: deliciousness.

The winners are ham, (black forest is my favorite, but any kind works!) hard salami, mozzarella cheese, and provolone cheese. Mmmmmmmm…

Spread you delicious, life changing , put-it-on-everything olive tapenade on your rolls and you have the tastiest and prettiest sandwich you ever sunk your teeth into.

Muffaletta Sandwiches

Muffaletta Sandwiches
 
Serves: 2 sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 1 cup assorted olives
  • ⅓ cup pickled cherry peppers, sweet or hot based on preference
  • ⅓ cup giardiniera (avariety of pickled vegetables)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Sesame topped sandwich rolls
  • 6 ounces hard salami
  • 6 ounces ham
  • 6 ounces sliced provolone cheese
  • 6 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. In a food processor place the olives, peppers, giardiniera, garlic, red wine vinegar, oregano, and parsley. Pulse a few times to create a coarse mix. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and store in fridge until needed.
  2. In a hot skillet, toast the undersides of 2 sesame sandwich buns. Evenly spread each side of the bun with the olive spread. Arrange the salami on the buns and layer the provolone, ham, and mozzarella. Carefully close the sandwich.
  3. At this point you can definitely eat your sandwiches (I did!) but it really tastes best if you wrap the sandwiches tightly in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

 

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