It's a Mardi Gras Celebration in Your Mouth

February 12, 2016
New Orleans' favorite sandwich is hearty and easy to make! But it does require a little planning ahead, so save the drinks for the feast.
Jill Bernardini
It's a Mardi Gras Celebration in Your Mouth | WGBH | Craving Boston

I'm a huge fan of antipasti platters. They're usually my go-to when dinner plans are up in the air and the fridge is a bit sparse. After traveling to New Orleans for the first time and tasting my first muffuletta sandwich, I knew I needed to create my own.

I found all my ingredients locally in the North End; where else when you're making an Italian-inspired sandwich? But strategize your steps here! Before assembling and pressing this skyscraper-sized deli delight, I made the olive salad a day in advance. The flavors meld together longer, and you're able to season it better before adding it to the bread.

I'm not opposed to a little heat (I carry travel-size hot sauce in my purse), so I added Calabrian chili peppers for a little kick. I also opted for the hot capicola instead of the sweet! Hollowing out the bread a bit is an important step because it makes more room for a top and bottom layer of the olive salad with plenty of space for the hearty meat-to-cheese ratio.

My husband was confused when he opened the fridge and saw the muffuletta, wrapped in plastic, and topped with two dictionaries. I told him, "trust me." Pressing the sandwich for a few hours allows the sandwich to set and slice easily!

4 Calabrian chili peppers, chopped
1/2 cup whole pitted black olives, chopped
1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted, and chopped
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 basil leaves, shredded
1 loaf round bread (about 7 inches in length), cut horizontally in half and hollowed
4 ounces Genoa salami
4 ounces Mortadella
4 ounces Hot Capicola
3 ounces provolone, thinly sliced
3 ounces asiago, thinly sliced
  1. First, make the olive salad. In a mixing bowl, combine the first eight ingredients: chili peppers, both olives, capers, bell peppers, carrot, white wine vinegar, and olive juice.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Place in the fridge overnight, or until ready to assemble the sandwich.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with the basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside until ready to use.
  4. For assembling the sandwich, take the hollowed out loaf of bread and brush the insides with the olive oil-basil mixture. Spoon a little more than half of the olive salad into the bottom portion of the bread.
  5. Now begin to layer the meats and cheeses: divide the meats in half, and layer half of the salami, mortadella, and capicola. Then add all of the provolone and asiago, and top with the remaining meats in the same order.
  6. Add the remaining olive salad, then press on the top half of the loaf. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place a heavy book or baking dish filled with soup cans on top of the wrapped sandwich, and set in the fridge for two hours. Slice into quarters and serve.

*My favorite bread baker in the North End is Bricco Panetteria, which truly transports you to Italy. I found my imported Italian treats at Monica's Mercato & Salumeria on Salem Street.

Bricco Panetteria - 241 Hanover Street, Boston, 617.248.9859,

Monica's Mercato & Salumeria - 130 Salem Street, Boston, 617.742.4101,