The muffuletta, a classic invented by Italian expats in New Orleans, is jam-packed with spicy cured meat, garlicky olive salad, and piles of provolone and Swiss.

It's best to prepare the olive salad about a week before making the sandwich to allow the flavors to intensify. The recipe yields roughly 3 extra cups that, when stored airtight, will stay fresh for 1 month. Use leftovers as a zesty salad topping or for a delicious fish marinade.
Servings: Makes 4 servings
Olive Salad:
  • 2 cups green olives , pitted
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives , pitted
  • 1 1/4 cups ready-made giardiniera
  • 2 Tbsp. capers
  • 3 cloves garlic , thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup celery , thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian parsley , finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup jarred pimientos
  • 2 green onions , finely chopped (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • Kosher salt , to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (15-ounce) loaf Italian bread , preferably seeded and round (about 12 inches in diameter)
  • 1 1/2 cups olive salad (or more, to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp. oil from olive salad (or more, to taste)
  • 3 ounces capicola ham , thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces Genoa salami , thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces mortadella , thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces provolone cheese , thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces Swiss cheese , thinly sliced
To make olive salad: Lightly crush olives on a wooden cutting board with the heel of your hand. Break up any large pieces of vegetables in giardiniera. Combine all ingredients in a large jar or a bowl with a resealable lid, making sure everything is immersed in olive oil. Stir, cover container tightly, and refrigerate at least 2 days (preferably 1 week).

To make sandwich: Halve loaf of bread lengthwise. Spoon olive salad on one side. Spread out olives, breaking them into pieces with your hands, and gently push into bread. Coat other side of bread with oil.

Layer olive-salad-laden side of bread with overlapping slices of ham, salami, mortadella, provolone, and Swiss. Top with oil-coated side. Cut loaf into four wedges; serve with Zapp's Cajun Crawtator potato chips and Barq's bottled root beer or mini screwtops of Merlot.


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