February 18, 2007
I'm pretty sure this isn't an "East Coast" recipe, but I first encountered it when we moved back here, so I'm labelling it that way.
One day when I was taking lunch to my LCB, I stopped at a local deli in Havre de Grace, called St. John's Gourmet. When I go into a place and everything (or at least more than 50%) of the menu looks terrific, I usually ask someone who works there, "If you were taking lunch right now, and could have anything on the menu, what would it be?". Well, on this day, the cook told me he'd get the Muffuletta. So that's what I got.
That was one of the best surprises I've had. The sandwich was stuffed with good deli meats, and had a very distinctive olive taste, due to the relish they use. (Actually, the St. John's calls it an Olive Salad, I call it an olive relish.) Apparently it's a creole creation, and I've since seen it on Emeril and also saw Giada feature it on a superbowl snacks spot on one of those morning shows.
The Muffuletta sandwich is a fairly straightforward sub sandwich. The key points are, the olive spread, a lot of layers, and compress the finished sandwich. Here's how I built it:
Muffuletta spread on the bottom and top rolls. Then two layers each: Peppered Ham, Mortadella, Hard Salami, Pepperoni, Provolone cheese. Then some romaine lettuce. Put everything together and either smush it down, or wrap it really tight in plastic wrap, and let it sit in the fridge for a while to let all the flavors meld.
It's difficult for me to find the relish around here, and when I do, it's very pricey for a small jar of it. So here's a recipe for it that makes a fair amount of it. (I've been using it on a number of things beyond just sandwiches.)
So here's how you make the muffuletta spread:
1 1/2 cups chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
1 cup chopped Kalamata olives
2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp horseradish
1/2 cup fire-roasted red bell pepper (chopped)
5 anchovy fillets, mashed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp lemon juice
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Mix all this up in a bowl, and let it set for a while in the refrigerator.
This recipe made enough to fill two olive jars with a bit left over.