Strange name for a sandwich, right? This sandwich hails from New Orleans and is a close cousin to the Philadelphia hoagie. Unlike a hoagie (also called subs, depending on where you live), a muffuletta is made using a round loaf of bread and is cut into wedges. Both hoagies and muffulettas use Italian cold cuts — mortadella, ham, salami, provolone, etc. — but there the similarities end. Hoagies contain lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sweet and hot peppers (my mouth is watering as I type this), while muffulettas have a marinated olive salad instead. So you do need to like olives in order to enjoy this sandwich! I’ve exchanged the Italian meats for turkey to keep the fat content lower, but feel free to use any type of deli meats that you prefer. The same thing with the olives — I happen to like a bit of heat in my sandwich, which is why I buy the hot pitted olives at the supermarket olive bar. Choose whatever you like, but make sure the olives are pitted! I also use smoked paprika in this recipe because it imparts a great flavor. You can find it in any grocery store in the spice aisle. A little goes a long way.
Since muffulettas don’t contain onions, lettuce, and tomatoes, they keep longer and actually taste better if made a day in advance. That makes them perfect for a picnic or a tailgating party. You can make these yummy sandwiches a day ahead, or the night before you need them. Try to find ciabatta bread which is sold in most supermarkets because it’s sturdy and will hold up better than other loaves.
- 1 loaf ciabatta — 12 inches. (Trim it if it’s longer)
- ¼ c. plus 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/3 c. finely chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
- 1 cup pitted hot Italian olive mix (kalamata, Spanish, gaeta)
- 1 roasted red or yellow pepper, dried and cut into strips (1/2 cup)
- 1/4 lb. sliced smoked turkey
- 1/2 lb. sliced black pepper turkey
- 1/4 lb. sliced oven roasted turkey
- 8 slices provolone cheese (mild — not sharp which is too strong)
1.Slice the ciabatta in half horizontally. Scoop out some of the bread from both layers and discard (or save to make bread crumbs).
2.Chop the olives, using an up-and-down motion with your knife.
3.In a mixing bowl, combine the 1/4 cup mayonnaise, mustard, smoked paprika, chopped onion and olives. Stir until thoroughly combined.
4.Spread the remaining mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons per side, on the bread. Divide the chopped olive mixture between the two bread halves and spread evenly.
5.Place 4 of the provolone slices on one bread half. Add the smoked turkey and then the roasted turkey. Cover with the remaining 4 slices of provolone. Top with the black pepper turkey and then place the roasted pepper strips on top.
6.Carefully place the other half on top of the sandwich and press to close.
7.Slice into 6 pieces and serve, spearing each slice with a sandwich pick (they’re longer than a regular toothpick) if you want. If you’re not serving the sandwich right away, you can wrap the whole sandwich in aluminum foil and slice when you’re ready to eat it, or wrap the pieces individually and refrigerate until ready to eat. The beauty of this sandwich is that it keeps for a few days.