Down in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, there’s an old Italian grocery store famous for its Original Muffuletta Sandwich created by Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Lupo. Central Grocery was opened in 1906 by Lupo, and the shop still brings in hundreds of locals, tourists, and foodies from around the world every day.
The iconic store is lined with fresh pastas, aged cheeses, cured pork, and a wide assortment of other delicacies that I really wish I could have taken on the plane home. As I was waiting to board my flight back to Nashville, the woman sitting across from me had a plastic bag beside her feet. And, what do ya know – it was a Central Grocery bag, filled with two perfectly wrapped muffulettas. Even though I had eaten one just two hours before, I almost offered to pay her for one of them… I am dead serious.
So, what exactly is a muffuletta, and what makes it legendary?
Salvatore developed this sandwich with a mouth-watering olive spread (consisting of capers, pickled Italian vegetables like cauliflower, pepper, and pimentos), kalamata and green olives, garlic and herbs), Genoa salami, mortadella, hot capicola, provolone cheese, all on their fresh-baked muffuletta bread. It’s so good, you really would smack your momma for a bite.
When you order in store, you’ll notice sandwiches are wrapped, and piled high. In other words, they’re not made to order. How come? Well, that’s the key to this recipe. The sandwiches are pre-made so the olive oil from the salad marinades into the bread, bringing out the intense flavor of the olive spread. The first time I made my own, I failed to do this, and it made a difference in the overall taste of the sandwich.
If you Google other muffuletta recipes, you’ll notice many of them make their own olive salad. I say skip the trouble, and buy Central Grocery‘s own jarred salad – you’re saving yourself the hassle, and buying THE olive salad they use in-house!
Now, if you can afford it, and want to try one of the OG sammies without flying to NOLA, you can. For $109, Central Grocery will overnight you two muffulettas packed on ice (shipping included) through Goldbelly.com. Cool concept, but I enjoy making my own!
TIP: It is difficult to find traditional muffuletta bread outside of New Orleans. Traditionally, it is a round loaf with sesame seeds. It’s okay to use French, Ciabatta, Italian, or make your own with this recipe. The bread is VERY important to the integrity of the sandwich and should be a large, thick-crusted, round loaf of bread! Good things can not be rushed.
N’awlins Central Grocery Muffuletta
2 (10-inch) loaves round Italian bread with sesame seeds
½ c extra virgin olive oil
16 oz of Central Grocery Olive Salad spread
½ lb Genoa salami, thinly sliced
½ lb ham or spicy capicola, thinly sliced
½ lb mortadella, thinly sliced
½ lb provolone, thinly sliced
1. Horizontally slice bread loaves evenly in half with sharp bread knife.
2. Dip brush in olive oil, and brush generous amounts of oil onto insides of sliced bread.
3. Add thick layer of olive salad to both insides of bread loaves.
4. Chill in fridge overnight.
THE NEXT DAY
1. Assemble sandwiches by layering meats and cheeses on bottom half of sandwiches , in the following order, 1 slice at a time: salami, capicola, mortadella, provolone. Repeat until you have used all meat and cheese.
2. Place top sandwich bread piece on bottom half, and wrap each sandwich in foil. Allow to sit for an hour or two, to let the flavors meld together.
4. Traditional muffulettas are pressed. Press down with a bacon press if you so wish.
5. Serve, and demolish!
If you loved this recipe, leave me a comment or share on Instagram, @goodafeats, #goodAFeats!
xoxo – Amber