My exploration of Southern cooking is going on and I am travelling again to Lousiana to celebrate Mardi Gras with New Orleans’ signature sandwich. It is a more or less century old culinary tradition of the Italian immigrants local community, created in a Sicilian deli. Today this impressive sandwich can be found all over town and its a real must during Mardi Gras celebrations.
Muffuletta is the actual kind of Sicilian bread the sandwich is prepared with and the main distinguishing filler is a so called olive salad (I find very reductive calling it like that and you will understand why!)
No funny stuff here… I did bake the right bread myself and I prepared the salad chopping the ingredients using my trusty Sabatier cook knife!
After researching I came up with the following adapted recipe.
Its a round yeast bread circ 20cm diameter and just a 4-5 cm tall, topped with sesame seeds.
3 cups flour
7 gr fast action dried yeast (1 sachet)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
In a bowl mix the flour with the yeast and the salt. Mix the water and the oil in a separate bowl. Pour the liquid mixture slowly in the bowl with the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork and then go on working the dough with your hands on a flat surface till smooth and elastic. Shape the dough in a ball, put it back on the bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes, covered. After that work the dough in a round circa 2cm thick, spread the sesame seeds on top and press them gently in the dough. Spread some cornmeal on a baking tray and place the dough disk on it, cover with cling film and let rise 1 hour circa.
Heat the oven at 220 Celsius, brush the top of the loaf with egg yolk before put it in the oven and cook for 15 minutes then turn off the heath and leave it inside the oven for another 5 minutes. The cooked bread must sound hollow when tapped on the top.
Well….. a lot of amazing flavours that make a great salad! As concept it reminds me of the “farcitura” that back in Italy and back in the days they used to put as extra filler in the classic “toast” (white slice bread filled with cheese and cooked ham, grilled)
Ingredients (to fill one muffuletta)
50g of black olives
50g of green olives
1 tablespoon of capers
80g of pickled vegetables (carrot, gerkins, cauliflower)
half roast red pepper
a quarter of red onion
2 garlic cloves
5 fresh basil leaves
a small handful of parsley
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Finely chopped everything and mix well!
I chopped first the olives and the capers, then the veggies and finally garlic onion and herbs.
THE MUFFULETTA SANDWICH
1 muffuletta bread
100g cooked ham
8 slices salami
8 slices provolone or emmental
Cut the bread, spread the salad on one side, put a layer of ham, one of salami and one of cheese and then salad again, top with the other half of the loaf and cut in 4.
It’s massive, evil tasty, juicy, tangy and fresh!