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Muffaletta sandwich

todiefor's picture

Hello again everyone,

I'm reading a book that takes place in New Orleans (pre-Katrina).  They make references to a Muffaletta sandwich.  I googled and found that it's an Italian sandwich stuffed with olive salad, thin slices of ham and salami, and lots of cheese.  Have any of you had one of these?  And if so, did you make your own olive salad?

It sounds very decedent!

MadMom's picture

(post #34537, reply #1 of 30)

Oh yes, they're very common in NOLA.  I've eaten them, but not being a fan of salami or olives, they're not my favorite thing.  I'm sure chiqui has a good recipe for one, and if she sees this, bet she'll post it.

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TracyK's picture

(post #34537, reply #2 of 30)

She's already posted it (courtesy of Jean):

Chiqui's Muffaletta

CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

todiefor's picture

(post #34537, reply #3 of 30)

This is the same recipe that I found online.  What I wanted to know is if anyone has made this olive salad.  I was wondering why you need to use both Crisco and olive oil.  Other recipes call for only olive oil, and they don't call for as many ingredients.

TracyK's picture

(post #34537, reply #4 of 30)

Chiqui, who created that recipe, posts here... she'll probably be along and will have an answer for you in the next day or so.

Just realized that her recipe calls for Crisco oil, not Crisco shortening. My guess is, it's a way to stretch out the pricier olive oil. I'd probably just use all olive oil, since that's what I have in the house. But if you wanted to cut the olive oil with a cheaper oil, any mild vegetable oil would do.

CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

Edited 7/11/2007 8:17 pm ET by TracyK

chiquiNO's picture

(post #34537, reply #14 of 30)

Exactly what Tracy said.  Pure extra virgin olive is just too strong...a canola or vegetable oil to cut it's strength is best!!

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans


annieqst's picture

(post #34537, reply #5 of 30)

They are great picnic food and easy to make and transport. I'm glad you mentioned it as we have an outdoor concert coming up and think I'll bring that! Looks like someone already posted a recipe. Enjoy!

todiefor's picture

(post #34537, reply #7 of 30)

That's what I was thinking, a great picnic food, with no Mayo to worry about, and a bottle of Chianti.  How much better can you get!

It's so cool knowing that actual chefs post here, and will answer your questions.  Like rubbing elbows with the rich and famous.

msm-s's picture

(post #34537, reply #9 of 30)

this is one of my dad's absolute all-time favorite foods. before the internet, he was always on the lookout for the perfect muffaletta and the perfect olive salad. whenever we went to new orleans, or when i went without my folks he/we/i had to eat some there and bring some back. there was a litle store, a small grocery store, i think, in the quarter that was known for their muffalettas and i believe that's the one my dad figured was perfect (due partly to his remembering eating them there when he was a kid in the 1930's. you know how ealry food memopries stick with you.)

the only thing i don't see in chiqui's recipe that i consider important is that you are supposed to scoop out most of the bread from the inside of the bun or loaf. hollow it out to make room for loads of meat and salad, then use the extra bread in a good old n'awlins-style bread pudding.

growing old is inevitable. acting old is optional.
Lee's picture

(post #34537, reply #11 of 30)

Mmmmm, muffalettas. Central Grocery has the best ones in NO, IMO.  Whenever we're in NO, DH and I share one along with an icey cold bottle of beer, then mosey down to Cafe DuMonde for beignets and coffee.  Doesn't get much better than that. 

msm-s's picture

(post #34537, reply #12 of 30)

that's it! central grocey. i was tempted to write that, but i thought i was confusing it for the central grocery on the square in oxford MS. thanks!

growing old is inevitable. acting old is optional.

Lee's picture

(post #34537, reply #13 of 30)

You're welcome.  There's another market near Central Grocery that also claims to have invented the muffaleta, but I can't remember the name.  Maybe chiqui will pop in and remind me.  I don't think their version is as good as Central's.

chiquiNO's picture

(post #34537, reply #17 of 30)

It's called Progress Grocery.  They were the original, but Central surpassed theirs.  My recipe came from the daughter who invented the sandwich,.  It makes a huge quantity, but you can easily cut it down.

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans


Lee's picture

(post #34537, reply #18 of 30)

That's the one.  It's been many years since I've had one from Progress, but, for some reason, I like Central's version better.

chiquiNO's picture

(post #34537, reply #19 of 30)

It's really funny because they both use the same ingredients, however the only difference is the olive salad.  I love that smelly old store.  It was my mom's habit to go there to get all the ingredients for her lasagna.  Brings back many memories!!

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans


msm-s's picture

(post #34537, reply #20 of 30)

it has been a very long time since i've had a muffaletta from central gro (early 1980s at the latest), but either my memory is playing tricks, or they really did scoop out the bread, even with flattish loaves. that's where my dad got the idea to make his that way. am i nuts? did they change how they do it?

growing old is inevitable. acting old is optional.

chiquiNO's picture

(post #34537, reply #21 of 30)

Nope...they have NEVER scooped it.  Nothing much to scoop and they do NOT overstuff the sandwich.  It has a single layer of each of the meats and cheeses.  Always has been that way. Sorry, maybe you saw it done that way elsewhere.  The sandwich is copied all over the U>S>

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans


Lee's picture

(post #34537, reply #22 of 30)

There aren't many markets like that left anywhere, unfortunately.  

msm-s's picture

(post #34537, reply #23 of 30)

hi there chiqui! i'm not argumentative, but i am indeed stubborn :-)
you can ask tracyk :-)

i know i'm not nuts, so i googled "muffelatta scoop bread" and came up with loads of links showing scooping. here are just a few of the links from the first search results.
i'm not saying you're wrong; obviously, you live there and i certainly respect that. but apparently we each have different experiences, including my dad's going back to the 1930's when he was in college and on through his last visit to NOLA in the 80's. his mom did make bread pudding with the left-over bread scraps, although i doubt she used the proper bread in small town TN in those days. possibly it's modern economics these days; serve more bread and less meat. my dad was always adamant that the olive salad and the hollow bread were both what made the muffelatta distinct from other hero-type sammiches. and certainly, as with anything, there are tons of variations.
here's some of the links:

Make Muffuletta Bread and make Olive Salad. Cut bread in half crosswise and scoop out about half of the soft dough from top and bottom pieces ... - 16k - Cached - Similar pages

Vegetarian Muffaletta From: Spooky. Serves 8 ... Cut top off of bread and scoop out some of the insides (save for croutons or bread crumbs). ... - 7k - Cached - Similar pages

MUFFULETTA: Slice bread horizontally and scoop out part of the middle. Brush bottom and sides of loaf with olive oil or juice from olives. ...,1-0,muffuletta

Turkey Muffaletta - Free Cooking Recipes

Scoop out some of the bread in the center of the loaf. ... On the bottom half place a layer of meat, a layer of... - 11k - Cached - Similar pages

Serves 8 1 large round Italian loaf of bread ... Cut top off of bread and scoop out some of the insides...

Recipe Board: Muffelatta/Olive Salad Redux
Cut the bread in half horizontally, as you would for a sandwich. Scoop out some of the center of the loaf. Drizzle oil from the salad on both halves ...

Muffelatta sandwich - Military Spouse Support Network
Muffelatta sandwich Recipes. ... Next day you can begin making the sandwich; slice round loaf horizontally - scoop out 1 inch of soft bread middle from the ...

A killer sandwich I learned to love in New Orleans!
TO MAKE THE SANDWICH: Slice a round loaf of bread lengthwise. Scoop out the center. Drizzle some oil from the olive salad on the bread halves. ... Bayou/8888/recipes/bread/muff.html

growing old is inevitable. acting old is optional.
chiquiNO's picture

(post #34537, reply #24 of 30)

I have seen it hollowed out on TV for demos...they don't use our ingredients either...just their version.  I certainly don't want to argue...not my style.    Let's just say in the almost 57 years I've gone down to the French market to the Central or Progress markets I have NEVER seen it done.  The bread is too flat to scoop out any insides.  They would be down to the crust.  The traditional bread is made by United Bakery.  It is only 1 1/2" high.

I've seen many people Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, etc, etc. do their version on tv...they use roasted peppers and a lot of other stuff that does not go in the original.

Emeril has one too, and as a real native of New Orleans I can tell you his recipes of New Orleans dishes, although delicious, they are not authentic New Orleans.  ;^)


It really doesn't matter to me if you want to scoop out or not...or believe me or not...I'm just reporting as a native New Orleanean as to what my personal experience has been for over 56 years.  Myabe your dad's and your experience was different.  As with many specialty dishes there are a lot of versions of this sandwich in this city, too.  Everyone claims to be the authentic....just like the Philly cheesesteak, I guess.  Central and Progress are the originals.

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans


msm-s's picture

(post #34537, reply #25 of 30)

around here, people take their pork barbeque dead serious, and there is a wide division in the camps who think they have the authentic way; wet vs dry ribs, vinegar vs tomato based sauce, etc.
it's like your example of who's got the right philly cheesesteak; there's always going to be some division. my dad was born in 1915 and spent much of his young adulthood in and around new orleans, and i was wondering if maybe the hollowing out was an older vesion.
as i said before, you being a native, i certainly respect your experience :-)

-growing old is inevitable. acting old is optional.

Edited 7/13/2007 4:30 pm ET by msm-s

Adele's picture

(post #34537, reply #26 of 30)

Oh my!  Look what I found!

When I was reading down, I saw YOUR name- how cool is that?  


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

chiquiNO's picture

(post #34537, reply #27 of 30)

Yep...that's me.  Been on there for many. many years.  LOL

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans


msm-s's picture

(post #34537, reply #28 of 30)

well, i stand convinced that the no-scoop way is the authentic way in spite of my personal experience (and dad out-dates rachel ray about 3 times over!).
even the mother of my dad's godchild, who was also born raised and married in NOLA, scoops her bread. it certainly is a widespread practice even if it is not the correct way to do it. i can only guess it originated as a way of making the wrong kind of bread work if you didn't have the proper stuff. this has been really interesting, but i don't think i'll tell my dad he was making imposters all those years! thanks-

-growing old is inevitable. acting old is optional.

Edited 7/13/2007 5:50 pm ET by msm-s

Lee's picture

(post #34537, reply #30 of 30)

Based on my own experiences eating muffaletas in NO, chiqui is right.  The bread is on the thin side and is not scooped out.  I've read recipes and have seen tv chefs making their versions of a muffeletta, and they start with a rustic loaf that is much thicker than what's used in the original version.  Some of the center crumb has to be removed, or the sandwich would be mostly bread.

chiquiNO's picture

(post #34537, reply #16 of 30)


Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans


chiquiNO's picture

(post #34537, reply #15 of 30)

We absolutely DO NOT scoop out the bread here.  It is not as thick a loaf as maybe somewhere else.  Our round muffaletta bread is only about an inch and a half thick...thus not much to scoop out!!

Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans


ICDOCEAN1's picture

(post #34537, reply #6 of 30)

Oh yes, and might I reinterate, Chiqui's the one!

The smallest thing well done, becomes artistic.

Rich02's picture

(post #34537, reply #8 of 30)

Think hoagie but chop the ingredients and put on a round italiam loaf with wine vinegar and olive oil.  Rich

It's not what you say or what you do- it's how you make people feel

We did what we did when we knew what we knew, now that we know better, we should do the better thing.   Maya Angelou

drussell's picture

(post #34537, reply #10 of 30)

At the risk of being booed off this board, but on the other hand it might only be considered a shortcut, (I'm feeling very divided) there is a shortcut, convenience food, or whatever, for the olive salad.

A company called Guiliano makes an "Italian style Muffuletta olive salad mix". I've tried it and liked it well enough to purchase a second jar. Mind you, it's been a while since I've had a muffeletta since the last time I was in NOLA was in 2002, but it tastes pretty much the same as the mix that was on my muffulettas from Frankie and Johnny's, a little dive in New Orleans.

What most markets carry in most Maine cities and towns (except for Portland and tony coastal communities) is pretty limited, but I found this product at my local Hannaford rmarket. 


Regality's picture

(post #34537, reply #29 of 30)

M-M-M-Muffaletta!  Had my first somewhere in the Quarter a few years back.  Could have been in one of the establishments mentioned, but I probably didn't even notice then what the name of the place was, much less recall it now...but  M-M-M-Muffaletta!


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