• Tommy Centola

Exploring the Muffuletta

New Orleans is known for two types of sandwiches, the PoBoy and Muffuletta. While the PoBoy has many different fillings, the muffuletta is unique.You can use different deli meats and cheeses when making a muffuletta. What makes a muffuletta sandwich unique is the Olive Salad.

There is, however, many uses for olive salad. Today, I am sharing with you three recipes that are not a muffuletta sandwich: Muffuletta Salad, Muffuletta Pasta Salad and Grilled Muffuletta Sliders. I am also including my recipe for homemade Olive Salad. Time to start making something muffuletta style.

Olive Salad

2/3 cup large green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

2/3 cup medium green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

1 16oz jar giardiniera

½ cup chopped pimentos

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed

½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

¾ cup Extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and then allow the flavors to blend for at least 2 hours prior to serving. Store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.

The first time I saw a Muffuletta Salad was while I was dining out with my family on a trip to New Orleans. My brother, Ken, was trying to cut down on his bread consumption. He ordered a Muffuletta and a salad. He removed the interior of the sandwich and put it on top of the lettuce. I thought this was a stroke of genius.

Muffuletta Salad

2 heads iceberg lettuce cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

1 head romaine lettuce cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

¼ cup carrot shredded

¼ cup red cabbage shredded

8 ounces Genoa salami, thinly sliced and diced

8 ounces ham, thinly sliced and diced

4 ounces provolone cheese, shredded

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

Mix together lettuce, carrot and cabbage. Put the lettuce mixture

into chilled bowls. On top of each salad, put 2 ounces of salami, 2

ounces ham, 1 ounce provolone, 1 ounce mozzarella, and ¾ cup olive

salad.

Pasta salads are great for backyard BBQ’s and picnics. This recipe uses all the ingredients traditionally found on a Muffuletta. The pasta is replacing the bread as the carbohydrate. If you find yourself missing the crunch of the bread, you can add toasted sesame seeds to the salad.

Muffuletta Pasta Salad

1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

1 pound tri-color rotini, cooed al dénte and cooled

1 pound diced ham

1/2 pound Genoa salami, diced small

1/4 pound provolone cheese, diced small

1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, diced small

4 cups Olive Salad, drained, oil reserved

Place all ingredients but the drained olive oil into a bowl and toss. Add reserved olive oil to taste.

This can be served hot, cold or at room temperature.

Here is a recipe for your grill. Sliders have become very popular. These small sandwiches are great for socializing, which makes them a tasty addition to your tailgates. This one has a distinctive New Orleans flavor.

Grilled Muffuletta Sliders

3 pounds ground beef

Creole seasoning to taste

12 “Slider” mini buns, I prefer King’s Hawaiian

12 slices provolone cheese, cut in half

Olive Salad

Preheat grill


In a medium bowl, season ground beef with Creole Seasoning. Form into 12 small patties. Grill to doneness, turning once on each side, 4 minutes per side for medium.

Slice and grill buns. On bottom half of each bun, place a little olive salad, top with burger, followed by 2 small slices of provolone cheese, more olive salad and then the top half of bun.

You may be able to find pre-made Olive Salad at your local grocery store. Boscoli is the brand I often see. This New Orleans company makes an excellent product. I always, however, make my own. There will always be a loss of flavor when using a pre-made product.

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