MAINS

New Orleans Muffaletta Sandwich

Hello and welcome to Djalali Cooks. It’s Mardi Gras Season! Though Mardi Gras Day is Tuesday, February 21, the parades started on January 6. Krewes will continue the parade schedule through February 26 this year. I have not been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras season, but I hear it’s best to experience it any day during the season other than Mardi Gras Day. We are bringing a little bit of New Orleans and Mardi Gras season home today with a classic New Orleans recipe –  the Muffaletta Sandwich. I do love a Po-Boy, but I have to admit the Muffaletta Sandwich hits all the right notes for me. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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This sandwich recipe is a two-day deal. We will tightly wrap the sandwich and press it, in the fridge overnight. This method helps the olive salad meld with the bread, the oil soaks in…it also makes this sandwich great for travel and picnics, game day festivities, and feeding a group.

The Olive Salad

We will start with making the olive salad. I am giving myself a head start and saving a lot of tedious prep by using a mixed olive tapenade as my olive base. We want about 8 ounces of chopped olives. A Martha Stewart recipe calls for 2 ounces oil-cured black olives and 6 ounces green olives, pitted and chopped.

In a medium bowl, combine the chopped olives; 1 chopped anchovy fillet, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Fresh oregano, thyme and parsley, hot sauce, kosher salt and black pepper. Set this olive salad aside and we can move on to building the sandwich.

Muffaletta Meats

A quick note about the Ingredients. A New Orleans Muffaletta Sandwich has a lot of meat in it. There is no vegetarian-izing this sandwich. Let’s run through the meats involved. We have mortadella, which is pretty easy to find at the grocery store; same with the salami. Instead of hot soppressata I am using Spanish Chorizo to add that spice. Then I have traditional Coppa. Coppa is more widely available than ever, but if you can’t find it, substitute with prosciutto or Black Forest Ham.

For the cheese, use Provolone or Fontina. Then, for the sweet pickled peppers, traditionally you want to use Peppadews. I thought had some, but I didn’t…so I am using the cute little Petits Poivrons, same idea as the Peppadews; they are brined in a sweet vinegary brine and they have a little bit of piquant spice. Then we have peppery arugula. And our Olive Salad.

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Build the New Orleans Muffaletta Sandwich

A Muffaletta Sandwich requires a boule – a round loaf of crusty bread. I happen to have sourdough. Use a serrated knife to slice the loaf in half horizontally. Then, pull out the insides to create a hollow in both the top and bottom of the boule.

Now we layer it up! Start with filling the hollow space in the bottom of the boule with the olive salad. Depending on the size of your bread, you may not use all the olive salad. Go with as much olive salad as feels right to you. There’s no measurement for this.

Next we go with the mortadella. There’s a lot of meat here, so be conservative with each layer. Just shingle enough meat slices to fully cover the surface for each layer. Next we have the spicy soppressata or Spanish Chorizo.

Then we have the salami and then the coppa. Time for the cheese. And then the spicy sweet peppers.

Finally a couple handfuls of baby arugula, and then the top of the boule.

Make a cross-shape out of two long pieces of plastic wrap and set the Muffaletta Sandwich in the center. Then tightly pull up the sides of the plastic wrap over the sandwich. Set the sandwich on a sheet tray and set a Dutch oven, cast iron skillet, or other very heavy, flat-bottomed, round (refrigerator safe) thing on top. Maybe use a sheet tray set on top and then heavy canned goods on top of the sheet tray.

Set this whole situation in the fridge overnight.

The Next Day: Muffaletta Sandwich Time!

After a nice overnight in the fridge, the Muffaletta is ready for its spot center stage. Remove the plastic wrap, use a serrated knife to slice the sandwich into wedges and serve with Zapp’s Voodoo Potato Chips.

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Let the sandwich come up to room temperature before slicing and serving. Shaking off the chill from the fridge will bring the flavors of the meats and cheese to life and the bread will soften up a bit. The bottom of the boule is softened, but not soggy, with the olive oil and juices from the olive salad.

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So delicious and so easy! The New Orleans Muffaletta Sandwich is an impressive sandwich to serve a group, and the make-ahead aspect makes it a winner for a variety of occasions. I will have another great New Orlean’s-style recipe to celebrate Mardi Gras Season later this week, but until then, if you’re looking for the ultimate Mardi Gras celebration recipe, you must make a Mardi Gras King Cake. It’s easier than it looks to make, it’s super festive and impressive! Take care and be well, xo Kelly

Key Ingredients

New Orleans Muffaletta Sandwich

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Dinner, Main Course, Lunch, Snack Italian-American
By Adapted From Martha Stewart Serves: 8-10
Prep Time: 20 Minutes, plus overnight press Cooking Time: NA Total Time: 20 Minutes, plus overnight press

Celebrate Mardi Gras Season with the classic New Orleans pressed Sandwich, the Muffaletta. Don't forget the Zapp's Voodoo Kettle Chips!

Ingredients

  • Olive Salad
  • 2 oz. Oil-cured Black Olives, pitted and chopped
  • 6 oz. Green Olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 Anchovy Fillet, chopped (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Oregano Leaves, chopped
  • 1.5 tsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 1.5 tsp. Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Hot sauce, such as Crystal
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Muffaletta
  • 1 Large Boule Loaf
  • Olive Salad
  • Mortadella
  • Spicy Soppressata or Spanish Chorizo
  • Salami
  • Coppa or Black Forest Ham
  • Provolone or Fontina
  • Peppadew Pickled Peppers
  • Arugula

Instructions

Olive Salad

1

In a medium bowl, combine the chopped olives; 1 chopped anchovy fillet, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Fresh oregano, thyme and parsley, hot sauce, kosher salt and black pepper. Set this olive salad aside and we can move on to building the sandwich.

Muffaletta

2

Use a serrated knife to slice the loaf in half horizontally. Then, pull out the insides to create a hollow in both the top and bottom of the boule.

3

Start with filling the hollow space in the bottom of the boule with the olive salad. Depending on the size of your bread, you may not use all the olive salad. Go with as much olive salad as feel right to you. There's no measurement for this.

4

Next we go with the mortadella. There's a lot of meat here, so be conservative with each layer. Just shingle enough meat slices to fully cover the surface for each layer. Next we have the spicy soppressata or Spanish Chorizo.

5

Then we have the salami and then the coppa. Time for the cheese. And then the spicy sweet peppers.

6

Finally a couple handfuls of baby arugula, and then the top of the boule.

7

Make a cross-shape out of two long pieces of plastic wrap and set the Muffaletta Sandwich in the center. Then tightly pull up the sides of the plastic wrap over the sandwich. Set the sandwich on a sheet tray and set a Dutch oven, cast iron skillet, or other very heavy, flat-bottomed, round (refrigerator safe) thing on top. Maybe use a sheet tray set on top and then heavy canned goods on top of the sheet tray.

8

Set this whole situation in the fridge overnight.

9

After a nice overnight in the fridge, remove the plastic wrap, use a serrated knife to slice the sandwich into wedges and serve with Zapp's Voodoo Potato Chips.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Mari
    January 23, 2023 at 11:00 am

    This sandwich is an amazing thing to see. I have never had one, and I didn’t realize what was in it. So the pictures took me aback. Wow, look what I’ve been missing! I think this will be hugely popular here. Our local Wegmans has everything needed to build that pile of awesomeness, including olive salad. This would be a welcome treat on Super Bowl,Sunday, but we won’t wait that long. We will have it once before that, maybe twice. What a morning this has been. I overslept and woke up to rain. It had been snowing before that, and the rain washed what little there was, away. I do love the first snowfall of the season, however late that is, but the part of me that remembers the horrible Midwestern winters is smiling. No shoveling! Happy Muffuletta Monday to Kelly, Alex, Terry and the crafty dogs who are ready for any weather, thanks to their fur coats.

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      January 23, 2023 at 4:14 pm

      Happy Monday, Mari! This sandwich is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday! I am sure it will be a big hit in your house. It gets better the longer it sits, so you can enjoy it for a few days. Have a great evening! xo Kelly

  • Reply
    Ivy Alley
    February 7, 2023 at 4:11 pm

    Kelly,
    I’d like to make individual muffulettas instead of one big round one. What kind of bread would you recommend. I’ve been given several suggestions from friends, but I’d rather take advice from you!!!
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      February 8, 2023 at 6:54 am

      Hello Ivy, I would use Kaiser Rolls for your individual muffaletas. They are crusty on top and will hold up well to absorbing the oil from the olives. I hope that helps! Let me know how they turn out! xo Kelly

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