How to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

So, you’re saying, if I’m in New Orleans, what’s the point of making myself a muffuletta when I can just go down to Central Grocery in the Quarter and get the best?

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

True, but some of us don’t have that luxury. Kind of like when somebody asked the other day why I used “foreign” raised crawfish in crawfish pie. (Because I’m in extreme north Mississippi.)

The muffuletta came to New Orleans from Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Lupo, who reportedly watched lunchtime juggling of Sicilian immigrant farmers trying to eat bread, salami, cheeses and olive salad at mid-day. Soon after, he was offering the sandwich at Central Market.

This recipe is another from “Louisiana Kitchen & Culture” magazine and comes from Nor-Joe’s in Metairie. Now, I can make it myself.

So can you. Enjoy.

MUFFULETTAS

NOTE: I made some culinary decisions along the way because of my own local ingredient deficiencies, which certainly won’t be issues in larger cities. In the end, I realized that my bread was too thick, so I removed some from the top and it became much more manageable. I recommend doing that before you put it all together. Also, make your olive salad at least a few hours ahead of time so the ingredients have time to “meld.”

EQUIPMENT

  • cutting board
  • bread knife
  • chopping knife
  • large slotted spoon
  • plastic wrap
  • measuring equipment

INGREDIENTS

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin' Cook)

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin’ Cook)

OLIVE SALAD

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped black olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup bottled Giardiniera (pickled Italian vegetables), drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

Combine all ingredients, stirring well. Cover and chill at least 4-6 hours. Let it meld for 24 hours for better results.

NOR-JOE’S MUFFULETTA

  • 1 (10-inch) round Italian muffuletta bread
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 slices Emmental cheese (this is a type of Swiss cheese)
  • 3/4 cup olive salad
  • 1/4 pound sliced ham
  • 1/4 pound sliced mortadella ham (this is a salami-like ham)
  • 1/4 pound sliced Genoa salami
  • 6 slices thinly sliced prosciutto

LET’S GET STARTED

Slice bread horizontally (this is where you should consider whether you need to remove more bread from top and bottom). Place halves inside-up.

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin' Cook)

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin’ Cook)

Evenly top bottom half with 2 slices of each cheese. (Here, I confess to getting confused, so I topped each side. Can’t say it turned out badly, though, just more yum.)

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin' Cook)

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin’ Cook)

Drain olive mixture, if desired, and spoon half onto bread (atop cheese slices).

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin' Cook)

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin’ Cook)

Top with hams, salami, prosciutto and remaining slices of each cheese, and then the rest of the olive mixture.

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin' Cook)

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin’ Cook)

Bring bread halves together. (If you think you’ve still got too much bread to get into your mouth, this is a good time to trim a little more off the top half.) Wrap loaf tightly with plastic wrap and chill 2-8 hours. Rotate loaf every hour or so, to keep one end or the other from getting soggy.

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin' Cook)

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin’ Cook)

Cut loaf into wedges. Zap under the broiler or quickly in microwave, if you want it heated. (Central Grocery doesn’t heat its version, but they don’t usually put it into the fridge either, if you’re a walk-in customer.)

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin' Cook)

how to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/The Southfacin’ Cook)

SERVES 4 (If you don’t eat it all, wrap it up and put it back in the fridge for later.)

Come back to NewinNOLA.com every week for “Southfacin’ Cook,” where Patsy explains the basics to Southern cooking and eating. Contact her with suggestions, questions or requests at patsy.brumfield@gmail.com.

Previous recipes from Patsy:

• Hummus
• Gumbo
• Quiche

7 thoughts on “How to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native

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