If you’ve spent any time in New Orleans, you’ve probably enjoyed that olive spread, salami and melted cheese sandwich –the muffaletta. Central Grocery created muffalettas in 1906 and more than 100 years later still sells its masterpiece on Decatur Street. Personally, I’d bypass their storefront and head four blocks away to Napoleon House. I have no idea whether their muffalettas are better than Central Grocery’s, but I guarantee the atmosphere is.
The building at 500 Chartres (You know to pronounce it “charters,” don’t you?) was built in 1797. I don’t believe it’s been repainted since then.
After you enter the restaurant, do what my friends and I do: Find a table by the window, then order a muffaletta and your beverage of choice.
At this point, important, significant things begin to happen. You’ll discuss all your friends’ troubles and miraculously fix them. (Please note this works best when the friends you discuss aren’t actually with you at Napoleon House.) You’ll relive old times, analyze the weird couple across the room and -right there at your table- solve all the world’s problems. Before you know it, 3 or 4 hours will have passed and you’ll have a more crucial decision to make: Where should we go for dinner tonight?
Good news! You can’t go wrong with your choice in New Orleans. And fortunately, you only had a sandwich for lunch.
Note: This recipe is a Food52 Community Pick.
- Olive Spread:
- 2 cups kalamata olives, pitted (fresh or jarred, not canned)
- 2 cups pimento-filled green olives (fresh or jarred, not canned)
- 1 cup roasted red peppers (fresh or jarred)
- 2 cups pickled Italian vegetables (giardiniera)
- 16 pepperoncini, stemmed and seeded
- 4 tablespoons capers
- 12 cloves garlic
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 generous pinches crushed red peppers
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Sandwich fixins’ (See Notes Below):
- 1 pound provolone, thinly sliced
- 1 pound mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 1 pound Genoa salami, thinly sliced
- 1 pound mortadella, sliced
- 1 pound prosciutto or capocollo, sliced
- 12 ciabatta rolls or 2 loaves hearty country bread, sliced (enough for 12 large sandwiches)
- In the large bowl of a food processor, put in half the garlic cloves and process until minced. Add half the remaining vegetables (olives, pickled vegetables, pepperoncini, capers and celery) to bowl and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add half the oregano, pepper, vinegar and olive oil and pulse until just mixed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl or container with a tight lid.
- Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.
- Refrigerate the spread for at least one hour or up to 3 days before using.
- If using rolls, cut them horizontally.
- Place the bread on a flat surface. Spoon a scant 1/4 cup olive mixture on each slice of bread and spread evenly. Place provolone on bottom slice of bread, then cover with slices of salami, mortadella and prosciutto . On the top slice of bread, cover the olive mixture with slices of mozzarella. Carefully close the sandwich.
- Wrap the sandwiches and let stand at room temperature for up to 3 hours.
- Heat in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the meats warmed.
- Serve immediately.