This sandwich is a unique New Orleans creation. The Central Grocery, in the French Quarter, is credited with its invention. Most of the farmers in the French Market were Sicilians. They use to go to Central Grocery for lunch. They would order some salami, ham, a piece of cheese, a little olive salad and some bread. They would then proceed to eat them separately. The owner of Central Grocery suggested that they cut the bread and put everything inside and eat it like a sandwich. Muffuletta bread, a round Sicilian sesame bread, was softer that an Italian twist loaf, so it was used to make the sandwich. The other main ingredient is the olive salad. This is a mixture of olives, garlic, capers, seasonings, and olive oil. This is made in advance and taste better after sitting a day. The sandwich is usually too large for a single person to eat. Most places sell it in half and quarters.
1 Muffuletta bread or loaf of French bread
6 ounces Genoa Salami, thinly sliced
6 ounces Ham, thinly sliced
5 ounces Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
5 ounces Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
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.
Slice bread in half crosswise. Brush the bottom of the loaf with juice from the olive salad. Layer Salami, Ham, Provolone, and Mozzarella on the bottom half. Top with as much Olive Salad as will fit without spilling over the side. Add bottom side and press down slightly. Serve at room temperature. Some people like them toasted. To toast, put both sandwich halves in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for a few minutes.