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Muffaletta sandwich

Muffaletta sandwich

First time I’ve ever heard of muffaletta sandwich was last year, when I was skiing in Colorado, and a friend of mine started raving about this wonderful sandwich she had the day before at a restaurant at the top of a mountain. The next day the word “muffaletta” would not get out of my head (and vocabulary) so we skied to that restaurant and bought ourselves 2 muffaletta sandwiches. I still remember biting into a crunchy marinated olive mix and thin slices of ham, salami, and provolone cheese – all of that goodness wrapped up in a freshly baked Italian-style bread which soaked in the olive oil and other flavors from marinated olives, enjoying every bite, wishing this sandwich never ended… It was THE ultimate deliciousness at 11,000 feet, and a highlight of my skiing season.

Muffaletta sandwich

So what is a muffaletta sandwich (sometimes also spelled as muffUletta vs. muffAleta)? It turns out it’s a classic sandwich with Italian roots originating from New Orleans. Muffuletta is actually a name for a special type of Sicilian bread used specifically to make this sandwich. You can also use a single loaf of Italian-style bread or foccacia bread – enough to serve 4-6 people, depending on your appetites. For a shortcut, I even used sandwich buns, sandwich ciabatta bread in particular goes exceptionally well.

Muffaletta sandwich

What really makes this sandwich is the olive mix. I usually go to the olive bar at a grocery store and buy an assortment of different types of olives (black, green, and any other type you can find), pickled small peppers, and pickled vegetables, such as carrots, cauliflower, celery. Just like what you can see on this photo:

Muffaletta sandwich

I then finely chop all these pickled olives and vegetables, using food processor, until they become almost like a spread, but still crunchy. Then, I spread this olive mix on BOTH sides of the sandwich bread – on the bottom and top pieces of bread, spreading the mix to saturate the bread with oil. Just like this, or you can be even more generous:

Muffaletta sandwich

Finally I layer the bottom slice of the sandwich bread with salami, ham, cheese and remaining olive mix if desired and top with the top piece of bread. That’s it! The sandwich is ready, and when wrapped and refrigerated, it gets even better the next day!

Muffaletta sandwich

Muffaletta sandwich

Prep time: 30 min

Ingredients for olive salad:

  • 1 cup assorted pitted marinated olives (of different colors, green and black, and any others)
  • 1/3 cup pickled small green and red peppers (pimiento)
  • 1/3 cup pickled mix of crunchy vegetables, such as pickled carrots, pickled cauliflower, pickled celery
  • some marinated pepperoncini (if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for sandwich:

  • 1 loaf Italian-style or focaccia bread or ciabatta bread (enough to make 4 sandwiches) or 4 sandwich buns
  • 6 ounces salami thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces ham, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese, thinly sliced

Makes 4-6 servings

1) To make olive salad, combine olives, green and red peppers, pickled vegetables, capers, pepperoncini, and olive oil in a food processor. Process until finely chopped but still coarse and crunchy, just like you see on my photos.

2) Slice the loaf of bread in half length-wise (optionally, you can remove a little bit of the insides of the bread to make room for the olive mix). Or, if you’re using sandwich buns, slice each bun in half.

3) Spread about 1/3 cup of the olive mix on the bottom and top pieces of bread, spreading the mixture to saturate the bread with oil. Layer the bottom bread with the slices of salami, ham, cheese, and remaining olive mix to taste. Top with the top piece of bread.

4) Cut this stuffed loaf of bread into 4 or 6 sandwiches (depending on your appetite). Serve immediately, or, alternatively, wrap each sandwich tightly in paper or plastic wrap and let sandwiches sit for about 30 minutes to let the oil soak into the bread. Unwrap and serve!

I am sharing this recipe with Shine Supper Club as part of their Proof Sandwiches are the Best and Easiest Summer Dinner Round up (August 2013).

{ 30 comments… add one }

  • Monique August 16, 2013, 9:13 pm

    I made different versions yrs ago after tasting a Gourmet or BA recipe at a friend’s and was HOOKED..
    Yours looks divine!
    I just made a new tapenade.. pretty crazy about olives..
    This looks wonderful Julia!

  • Monique August 16, 2013, 9:14 pm

    That’s not my profile pic though:)

    • Julia August 17, 2013, 3:55 pm

      Ha-ha! Now I know what you mean that it’s not your pic! :)

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen August 16, 2013, 10:36 pm

    Beautiful and scrumptious looking sandwich, Julia! I’m addicted to those little ‘mini pickled red peppers’. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  • Alla August 17, 2013, 2:23 am

    very fun! I’ve never heard of this! These would be great to take with… I hate ‘dry’ sandwiches so this would be a perfect treat for on the road etc…

  • Krista August 17, 2013, 3:09 am

    Oh my! I’ve heard of a muffaletta sandwich, but I’ve never known what was in it. This sounds fantastic. :-)

  • Rachel Cotterill August 17, 2013, 3:21 am

    I’ve never heard of this. I used to have a regular sandwich from the local deli where I used to live, with red pepper pate and sliced green olives… that’s the only time I’ve had olives in a sandwich.

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 17, 2013, 3:45 am

    This is not a common sandwich in Australia but my yank innards remembers. This is a wonderful sandwich and I should make one soon.

  • Monique August 17, 2013, 8:22 am

    My comments aren’t here dear Julia:) Left 2 as my profile pic was of a different person:)

    • Julia August 17, 2013, 3:56 pm

      Those 2 comments finally went through – they were held back by my spam filter. So funny !!!

  • Barb August 17, 2013, 8:45 am

    Mouth-watering goodness! I just discovered these too!

  • The Café Sucre Farine August 17, 2013, 9:13 am

    I’m such an olive lover, I know this would be a hit, it looks quite wonderful!

  • Denise Browning@From Brazil To You August 17, 2013, 10:02 am

    Muffaletta was one of my favorite things when I visited NOLA last year. Yours looks like ” I want to sink my teeth in it” . hehe.

  • Angie@Angie's Recipes August 17, 2013, 10:27 am

    The sandwich looks totally tasty, Julia. I can’t wait to try your chopped olive salad.

  • Deb August 17, 2013, 12:36 pm

    I’ve never made my own muffaletta but this robust sandwich would be a great make ahead for a picnic or hike! Just exceptional!

  • Suzanne Perazzini August 17, 2013, 4:42 pm

    This looks delicious and very moist for an Italian sandwich – they do like them a little on the simple and dry side. That mixture would be what makes this so good.

  • Amy Tong August 17, 2013, 6:45 pm

    I adore Muffaletta sandwiches as the salty and tang flavors are just so refreshing and I always go back for more. :) Yours look delectable!

  • Patty August 17, 2013, 11:28 pm

    This has to be one of the best looking sandwiches I’ve seen-love the olive spread!

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook August 18, 2013, 4:42 am

    We were on a vacation this week and I found out that my kids, especially my son, love olives! I have to try Muffaletta sandwich! I’ve never had it but now I know my whole family adore olive spread. This looks SO good!

  • Daniela August 18, 2013, 12:21 pm

    Never heard of a Muffaletta sandwich before but it looks very tasty with beautiful, Mediterranian flavors. A must try!

  • john@kitchenriffs August 18, 2013, 1:40 pm

    I haven’t had one of these in years! And it’s such a great sandwich, I definitely need to make one soon. Yours looks wonderful – thanks for reminding me how good these are!

  • Serena @Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch August 18, 2013, 5:29 pm

    These look amazing! I’ve never had a Muffaletta Sandwich but now I feel I’m missing out on something!

  • Christin@SpicySouthernKitchen August 18, 2013, 11:17 pm

    I used to live in New Orleans and I love Muffalettas! Yours looks so good!

  • laurasmess August 19, 2013, 10:41 am

    This sounds fantastic Julia! I’ve never heard of muffuletta (or muffaletta!) but I can definitely understand why it’d taste so good. I am a big fan of any bread soaked in flavoured olive oil, plus I love tapenade so this seems like the best of both worlds! Thanks for the gorgeous idea. I love the fact that eating this sandwich takes you back to your ski trip also… it’s great how food can carry moments, emotions and associations that never leave you :) x

  • Juliana Walters August 19, 2013, 1:00 pm

    I’ve never made or eaten a Muffaletta sandwich. But, they have always intrigued me. I love all things pickled!

  • Asmita August 19, 2013, 11:36 pm

    I have never eaten a Muffaletta sanswich but would love to after reading your post. Looks incredible!

  • Jill August 21, 2013, 1:23 pm

    What a great idea!!! Easy, tasty, what’s not to live? Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Kim August 23, 2013, 1:43 pm

    I love the Muffaletta and have made many myself. I use hot giariniera mix for the olive spread because the extra heat really makes the sandwich. I also add sandwich sliced pepperoni. Proscuitto and capricola have been added from time to time as well. I also bake the meat and cheese on the bread for a few minutes to toast the bread and warm the meat before taking it out and adding olive spread. Most definitely my favorite sandwich ever!!!! Don’t forget the pepperoni…..

    • Julia August 23, 2013, 2:25 pm

      Wow, great suggestions! :) I’ll have to try all of that. Love proscuitto but never thought to use it in Muffaletta sandwich. Toasting the bread and warming the cheese and meat sounds great too! I am using salami instead of pepperoni: I think they are pretty similar.

  • Daniela August 28, 2013, 6:31 pm

    Hi Julia, I’m happy to nominate you for the Liebster Award for your blog. For that you need to follow some procedures…they are given in the link below

    http://ambassadorstable.blogspot.com/2013/08/sharing-joy-my-first-award.html

    Please answer the last 11 questions asked by me, nominate 11 other new bloggers. ask them 11 questions of your choice and do post all this in your blog…for example the way it’s posted in my blog… Glad to nominate you :-) Have a great day!

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