ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

A locavore moves from Wisconsin to New Hampshire and rediscovers what "local" means.

Mufaletta: We ain’t f*cking around… in Sandwich Form

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2014-06-22 18.15.05When I want a sandwich, I don’t want a little turkey on bread. I either want chicken salad on a toasted croissant or I want muffaletta. Chicken salad is tempting fate with botulism and celery seeds. Muffaletta is pure NoLa goodness.

A little history, the Central Market in New Orleans supposedly invented the muffaletta sandwich, which is typically mortadella, salami, ham, provolone or swiss cheese on a 8″-12″ round loaf of bread. The real showstopper is the “olive salad” added to the top, which is chopped olives with giardiniera, garlic, herbs and oil. The sandwich is named after the bread – a soft italian loaf with sesame seeds baked into the top, however, it seems silly today to actually just buy the bread… The sandwich is so much better. According to the daughter of the original owner of the Central Market, her father served bread, meat and cheeses to Italian immigrant farmers coming to the market to sell vegetables. Necessity being the mother of invention and all, the sandwich was more portable and easier to eat, rather than balancing the ingredients on one’s lap.

I learned to make a Muffaletta sandwich when I worked as a teenager at the now-defunct Opera House cajun restaurant in Pecatonica, IL. I remember the chef weighting the sandwiches down with gallon-sized metal cans of tomato sauce. I never remember seeing any of the tomato sauce get used in the restaurant – I think the cans were there because they were the right size and weight to make a great muffaletta.

Ingredients: 1/2 lb mortadella, 1/2 lb salami, 1/4 lb hot capricola, 1/2 lb provolone cheese. All sliced thin, but not paper thin. (Not shown: olive tepenade and a large round loaf of crusty bread.)

Ingredients: 1/2 lb mortadella, 1/2 lb salami, 1/4 lb hot capricola, 1/2 lb provolone cheese. All sliced thin, but not paper thin. (Not shown: olive salad and a large round loaf of crusty bread.)

 

Step 1: Make olive tapenade. In a food processor, combine 3 cloves garlic, 12 oz pimento stuffed olives (drained), parsley, and olive oil. Process until chunky. Cut bread in half and hollow out the top to make more room for sandwich. Spread 2/3 tapenade onto top and bottom of bread.

Step 1: Make olive salad. In a food processor, combine 3 cloves garlic, 12 oz pimento stuffed olives (drained), fresh parsley, and olive oil. Process until chunky. Cut bread in half and hollow out the top to make more room for sandwich. Spread 2/3 tapenade onto top and bottom of bread.

 

Layer meats and cheeses, and remaining 1/3 of tapenade. Weight sandwich and press for 30 minutes. I'm using the Holy Trinity: McGee, Bittman and Child.

Layer meats and cheeses, and remaining 1/3 of tapenade. Weight sandwich and press for 30 minutes. I’m using the Holy Trinity: McGee, Bittman and Child. Slice into wedges and serve. Wrap leftovers (ha!) and it gets a lot better after a day in the fridge and a trip to the office in your bag.

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