BY A.v CASSIDY

September in Colorado means the end of summer. While it always makes me a bit nostalgic for summers past, this month I’ve had a particular longing for the seasons I spent as a child in the South. It was during one of those endless humid summers in Louisiana when I first fell in love. . . with a sandwich. Since the few remaining days of summer are no time to be stuck cooking in a hot kitchen, let me introduce you to the Muffaletta. It is a hearty deli style sandwich substantial enough for dinner. And, because it is served at room temperature, this New Orleans legend is ideal for eating outside or bringing along to wherever one might bring an enormous, shareable, olivey sandwich. 

Although the Muffaletta can be found all over NOLA, Central Grocery in the French Quarter is where at all began. In 1906 Lupo Salvator noticed that the dock workers would get the same lunch daily from his market: Italian bread, olives, veggies, meats and cheeses. While watching them sit outside, trying to pass around all that food, and balancing the different components on their laps, the savvy Sicilian had his big idea. He stacked it all together into a giant, easily shareable handheld! Helllllo Muffaletta.

You won’t be in the Big Easy long before you notice every place has their own little spin on the classic and most locals have a fave. For me and my dad, it was the back counter of a bodega across from Lake Pontratrain. It was our favorite mostly because it was next door to my uncle’s apartment, the floor of which he’d graciously allowed us to crash upon that summer. But also it was our favorite because it was so damn good. This recipe is based on my fond remembrances of that sweaty summer and its sweet sandwich revelations.

Note: There is no one right way to make a Muffaletta. Play around, make it your own. The following is just a general guideline.

Olive Salad:  

(mix together & refrigerate, best made 24hrs prior to serving)

1/4 c red wine vinegar

1/4 c EVO

1tbl lemon juice

1 tsp dry Itl. seasonings

1/2 tsp salt

pinch of pepper

+

chopped raw veggies:

1/4 c cauliflower

1/4 c parsley

1/4 c celery

1/4 c green onions

1/4 c carrot

2 cloves minced garlic

+

chopped marinated / pickled veg:

1/2 c green olives

1/3 c kalamatas

1/4 c artichokes

1/4 c peppadew peppers 

2 tbl capers

2 tbl pepperoncinis

1 tbl jalapenos

Italian Meats & Cheeses: whatever are your favorites in whatever proportion you prefer. I like to use salami, capicola and pepperoni with sliced mozzarella and provolone.

Bread: Muffaletta bread if you can find it! An Italian loaf, Ciabata or Focaccia will work too, especially if sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Assembly: Slice bread horizontally across loaf. On bottom half of bread layer the meats, then cheese, then olive mix. Press other half of bread on top (you can use a plate or something to weigh it down if you like). Leave for half an hour or so until it reaches room temperature. Slice into smaller sections & serve. 

 wholesale jerseys