The Central Grocery in New Orleans is a 100-year-old store with a singularly great sandwich counter. It’s all about the muffuletta sandwich, which was created there. We enjoyed the muffuletta there years ago and recently decided to try making our own. There are several recipes floating around; we experimented a bit.
The olive salad
The key component of this sandwich is the olive salad. Central Grocery sells theirs by the jar, but you can make your own. Ingredients should include olives, of course – pimento-stuffed green and kalamata. Capers are good too. Add some pickled veg like cauliflower, carrots and celery. Roasted pepper is a nice mellow addition and peperoncini adds some kick. Chop everything coarsely and mix together with enough olive oil to make it glisten; add dried herbs, garlic, black pepper if you like. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
The gumbo pages recipe is another good reference.
Muffuletta bread is a big round loaf (about 10″ across). Here’s another recipe, which we more or less followed.
Making the sandwich
Split the loaf, brush with olive oil and add several layers of cheese (provolone is a must; mozzarella and swiss are good additions) and Italian deli meat (mortadella, salami and ham). We tried it with fake lunch meat (pictured), which isn’t bad, but it’s also great with just cheeses. Pile on the olive salad. Cut in half or quarters and share with a friend.