A cooking and baking journal

Muffuletta--say what?

3/22/09: Muffuletta, the sandwich of New Orleans, Louisana.

  • Sources: I gathered various muffuletta recipes from the internet and sort of made my own choice of ingredients for the filling. One recipe that was used for inspiration is Emeril Lagasse's Muffuletta. The bread recipe came from www.nolacuisine.com. The source of the idea to make muffuletta is the Food Network show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Bobby Flay was competing against some New Orleans brothers for the title of best muffuletta and while the two teams competed against each other I thought to myself, "Gee, that sandwich looks good!" And so it took off from there.
  • Defining moments: First time for muffuletta.
  • What I learned: First and foremost I learned what a muffuletta is. That's always important. So here comes a history lesson: the word muffuletta comes from the Italian word muffa, which means mold, and the bread was first made by Sicilian women. The bread worked its way over to the U.S. and ended up being chosen as "the" bread for the muffuletta sandwich by the Central Grocery in New Orleans in 1910. The sandwich was a favorite lunch for Louisiana farmers on their trips into town. So there's the history, now just don't ask me which way to pronounce it. It is either "muff-uh-LET-ta", "muff-uh-LOT-uh", or "moo-foo-LET-ta." It's your choice, there's no wrong way in my book.
This is another new bread recipe for me, seems like I have to try out a new one every week, doesn't it? I don't mind! The bread is very easy to make and handle and doesn't require much baking time because it is somewhat flat.
The olive salad I made showed me the striking difference between olives (I used green and black) and I also tried out red wine vinegar. I don't remember using or tasting this type of vinegar before, so this recipe allowed me to be introduced to a new ingredient.
Since I didn't follow any one recipe for the salad and choices of meat and cheese, I will write here what I used for the muffuletta filling:

Rebekah's Olive Salad (enough for two 10" muffuletta sandwiches)
10 oz. black olives
3 oz. green olives stuffed with pimentos
1 small onion
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

And for the choice of meat and cheese. . .
I used thinly sliced ham and mozzarella cheese. I was planning on adding summer sausage to the filling but can you believe it? I forgot. That's me for you!

  • How it tasted: It was accepted by all but there were a few complaints, one of which came from me. Number one: the bread crust was a bit too crunchy. This is the way the bread is suppose to be and it is probably caused by the egg wash that is brushed on before placing it in the oven. So the next time I make this bread I'll eliminate this step. Number two: I think the onion in the olive salad was too strong. I will add less next time or maybe none at all. Number three: according to my youngest sister, too many olives. She could be right. . . Maybe I do need to add bell peppers to the salad like my Papa suggested to me earlier.
  • How about a 2nd time? I think this would be exceptional if the above changes were made to the recipe. I like muffulettas and since they can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple days (they say the longer the filling is on the bread the better the sandwich) I think this sandwich would be a good choice for the busy summer months. There is also a hot muffuletta sandwich that can be made and I think it sounds really good. Just think of it. . . hot ham, summer sausage, olive salad, and warm, melted mozzarella cheese. Mmmm.

Gosh, what would I do without that non-stick aluminum foil from Reynold's? (Look at above photos.)

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