Where Did This Picnic Sandwich Come From?
A muffuletta is a pressed Italian style sandwich invented in New Orleans! Whaaat? This really delicious and easy sandwich was developed in an Italian (Sicilian) deli in New Orleans. The ingredients are authentic Italian ingredients so you’d probably never guess it’s made in the Big Easy. I’m publishing this recipe just in time for BC’s Family Day holiday. These are perfect for taking on a snowy picnic up the mountain or a cozy lunch by the fire.
Recipe Ingredients For A Classic Muffuletta
Italian deli meats (ideally 3 varieties), provolone cheese and a savoury and zesty olive salad or bruschetta. These meld together infusing flavour into every bite as they sit, weighted in your fridge. You can make your own olive salad from scratch if you have time. I absolutely love the olive bruschetta from Canadian company Sardo Foods so I use that. It has all the traditional ingredients like green, black, and kalamata olives, carrots, cauliflower, other veggies and a hint of spice. (Love everything olive? Try my Warm Marinated Olive recipe for an easy appetizer with an aperitif.)
Special Bread You Can’t Find Anywhere
Yep. While there is an actual bread called Muffuletta bread, sadly it is pretty much only available in New Orleans. So I recommend a nice loaf of ciabatta or an artisanal sourdough loaf that isn’t too crusty. Something easy to bite into but sturdy enough to hold up to the big bold ingredients.
Why You Should Make A Muffuletta
This is known as a picnic sandwich because traditionally it is made in a big round loaf of bread and then cut in wedges. Muffuletta also travels really well, in fact it’s best made a half to a whole day ahead. A grand sandwich also makes a festive meal! For family meals I like to do one large sandwich. When there is other company, this is easily made into individual sandwiches. This will taste equally great either way. Here a picture of a Nicoise version I made for Edible Vancouver Island magazine.
Don’t Hesitate To Refrigerate
Because this sandwich has meat and cheese, this New Orleans specialty should be stored in the fridge. Once you layer your ingredients, you will wrap and weight down your sandwich to let all the flavours come together. Place the sandwich, weight and all, in the fridge until you’re ready to serve or go on your picnic
The Ideal Make Ahead Picnic Recipe
Making this 6-24 hours in advance is ideal but you could make this right before serving (maybe add an appetizer pick to hold it together better) or as much as 2 whole days before serving. I have made these into individual sandwiches this time, which works just as well and can be handy for germ free sharing.
Grill It Like A Panini
Guess what else is delicious? Making the muffuletta like a panini! Grilling it melts that yummy provolone cheese and oh my, sooo delish! Definitely not traditional but oh so good and a great way to try it if you’re making it to eat right away.
Top Muffuletta Tips For Picky Eaters
The calling card for a muffuletta sandwich is the olive salad or bruschetta. It is traditionally the only condiment and it is really briny, salty and generally delicious. Sometimes kids find the flavours too strong so you can use a little less olive mixture and add a little olive oil or mayonnaise. The other ingredient you may choose to tame is the spicy salami. If you aren’t a fan of spice, you can simply use a combination of non spicy meats.
Recipe Brought To You By…
I have partnered with Sardo Foods for this recipe but I want to assure you that all opinions and recipe ideas are my own. I truly think their olive bruschetta (a zesty and addicting blend of various olives and giardiniera style vegetables) is the bomb and makes this recipe the best 😉 ( Another recipe I did with Sardo is my Roasted Red Pepper Soup and I think it goes great with these pressed sandwiches.)
Classic Muffuletta With Olive Salad
- 6 Ciabatta Buns or 1 round or oval loaf of ciabatta or similar.
- 12 slices Provolone Cheese (approx 170 g or 6 oz)
- 150 g Choose 3 of these: Capicola, Mortadella, Prosciutto, Soppressata, Salami or Ham 3 meats x 150 g each (approx 5.5 oz)
- 3/4 c Sardo Olive Bruschetta Or similar chopped olive and vegetable salad mix
- Slice loaf of bread or buns in half horizontally so you have a top and bottom. Lay them open in front of you.
- Spread olive bruschetta equally over tops and bottoms of bread.
- Then layer 1/2 of cheese, meat and remaining half of cheese.
- Place top half of bread on top, wrap carefully with parchment or plastic wrap. Place on a plate, put another plate on top to weight it down, then place in fridge until ready to enjoy.
- If made individually, these are ready to go. If it is a large round, cut this into about 6 wedges.
- Optionally, you can grill these in a panini press or weight down in a regular frying pan. Not traditional but a tasty alternative.