Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blog the fifth...recipe the second...muffuletta

Muffuletta....funny sounding word. Perhaps not one that comes up in most conversations...."Honey, where did I leave my muffuletta?" or the even lesser uttered, "Did anyone walk the muffuletta today?"
But when speaking of sandwiches in New Orleans the muffuletta tops the list in chatter.

We were having friends over for the Superbowl. For those of those who aren't familiar with the Superbowl I will explain. Superbowl Sunday is an American tradition of watching the top two football teams vie for the victory title. Actually what happens is people get together to eat and drink and watch overpriced commercials. Usually the commercials are what is spoken about the next day.  (BTW by football I mean American football, not soccer. And really the commercials are usually top-notch.)

Getting back to the muffaletta....Years ago I was reading the classic cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker.  Yes, yes I am one of those people who read cookbooks. I have been known to read one cover to cover before preparing a single recipe. However, I digress...I was reading through Joy and stumbled upon the muffuletta recipe, I was intrigued, yet for some reason unmoved to make the sandwich. I would revisit the page every so often with interest.

I wanted to know more about the sandwich, yet found very little on my Internet search. The most I can say is that it originated at the Central Grocery in New Orleans in the early 1900's. Italian immigrant farmers would stop in for lunch asking for a little bit of this or that with some crunchy bread. The owner Salvatore Lupo suggested putting the odds and ends on muffuletta bread to make it easier to eat and thus the sandwich was born.

A classic American cookbook, for a classic Sunday tradition, with what should be a more well known classic sandwich.

MUFFULETTA: (as per Joy)

combine well in a small bowl:
1 cup finely chopped pitted brine cured green olives, such as Picholine
1 cup finely chopped pitted brine cure black olives, such as Kalamata
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1.3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons minced fresh oreganso, or scant 3/4 teaspoon dried
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, roasetd, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Split horizontally in half:
1 large round loaf (8-9 inches) Italian or French bread
Remove most of the soft inner bread, creating a cavity inside each half. Drain olive mixture, reserving the marinade. Brush the insides of both halves of the loaf generously with the marinade, then spread half of the olive mixture in the bottom half. Add in layers:
About 2 cups shredde lettuce, arugula, or othe salad greens
About 4 ounces thinly sliced mortadella or other soft salami
About 4 ounces thinly sliced sopressata or other hard salami
About 4 ounces thinly sliced provolone, fontina, or fresh mozzarella shees
1 cup coarsely shopped fresh tomatoes, or 1/2 cup drained sun dried tomatoes in oil
Top with the remaining olive salad, cover with the top half of the loaf, and wrap tightly in plastic. Place on a large plate, cover with another plate, and weight with several pounds of canned goods. Refrigerate sor at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours. To serve, unwrap the loaf and cut into wedges.

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