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Hero of all heroes

Hero of all heroes

Natasha Lardera (January 31, 2008)

It's not a sandwich; it's a meal packed into a giant bun.


Leafing through the mouth-watering pages of one of my favorite food magazines, Saveur, I was proud to see an Italian American specialty, muffuletta, among its “100 favorite foods, restaurants, drinks, people, places, and things.”

It was unexpected as Italian American cuisine is not really “cool” or trendy as many of the things portrayed in this magazine usually are. Muffuletta stands at # 89, not at the top, but it still is on the list.

“This is the hero to beat all heroes,” the magazine reports, “an Italian-American New Orleans  classic…Man, is it good.”

So here’s the story from Wikepedia:

“The muffuletta (with numerous alternate spellings) is a type of Sicilian bread, as well as a sandwich in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is made with that bread.

The bread is a large, round, and somewhat flat loaf, around 10 inches (25 cm) across. It has a sturdy texture, and is described as being somewhat similar to focaccia.

The muffuletta sandwich originated in 1906 at Central Grocery, which was operated by Salvatore Lupo, a Sicilian immigrant. The sandwich is popular with city natives and visitors, and has been described as "one of the great sandwiches of the world." Central Grocery still serves the sandwich using the original recipe. Other variations are served throughout the city. The locals have differing opinions on which shop serves the best muffuletta.

A typical muffuletta consists of one muffuletta loaf, split horizontally. The loaf is then covered with a marinated olive salad, then layers of capicola, salami, mortadella, emmentaler, and provolone. The sandwich is sometimes heated through to soften the provolone.

The olive salad is considered the heart of the sandwich, and consists primarily of olives, along with celery, cauliflower, and carrot. The ingredients are combined, seasonings are added, covered in olive oil and allowed to combine for at least 24 hours. Prepared olive salad for muffulettas can also be bought by the jar in New Orleans grocery stores.”

Personally I have never tried it, but I am craving one, so off I go to buy all the ingredients and try to make the New York version of it…and if you have a recipe or a variation, please share it with us.

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