Recipe: muffuletta sandwiches

Recipe: muffuletta sandwiches

Muffuletta Sandwiches
In New Orleans, the two best Muffulettas? Bar none? It can be had at Central Grocery or Napoleon House on Chartres Street.

Muffuletta Bread
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
One tablespoon of granulated sugar
One package of active dry yeast (about one tablespoon)
About 3 cups of bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Two tablespoons of vegetable shortening
Sesame seeds

In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, combine water and sugar. Stir in yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine 3 cups of flour, salt, and shortening. Add yeast mixture. Process until dough forms a ball, about 5 seconds. Stop the machine; check the consistency of the dough. It should be smooth and satiny. If the dough is too dry, add more warm water, one tablespoon at a time, processing until blended. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, processing just until blended—process 20 seconds to knead.

Lightly oil a large bowl, swirling to coat the bottom and sides. Place dough in an oiled bowl; turn to coat all sides—cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Lightly grease a baking sheet. When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch down dough; turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Form dough into a round loaf about 10 inches in diameter; place on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with sesame seeds; press seeds gently into the surface of the loaf. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap; let rise until almost doubled in bulk, 1 hour. Place rack in center of oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap—Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F; bake for 25 minutes. The loaf is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool completely on a rack before slicing. Makes one loaf.

Olive Salad
1 (32 ounces) jar pimento-stuffed
green olives, chopped
2 cups pitted ripe olives, chopped
1 1/4 cups chopped pickled cocktail olives
Two celery stalks, finely chopped
2 cups blanched chopped cauliflower
1/4 cup minced garlic
Two medium carrots, peeled and minced
Two teaspoons of dried leaf oregano
One tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to blend well. Store in jars with tight-fitting lids in the refrigerator. Makes about 3 quarts.

Not only can you use this as a dressing for Muffuletta Sandwich, but it also makes a delicious addition to tossed green salads and pizzas and is a great relish to spread on crackers.

Muffuletta Sandwich
1 (10-inch) Muffuletta Bread loaf
3 ounces honey ham, thinly sliced
3 ounces Mortadella with pistachios,
thinly sliced
3 ounces Genoa salami, very thinly sliced
One heaping cup of Olive Salad
5 slices Provolone cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut bread in half crosswise to form a sandwich bun. Layer the honey ham on the bottom of the loaf. Next, add the Mortadella, then the salami. Spread the Olive Salad over the meats evenly. Top with the slices of Provolone cheese and place the top on the sandwich. Press down to compress slightly. Wrap the sandwich in foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese melts into the Olive Salad. Slice sandwich into four quarters. Use wooden picks to secure layered; remove picks before eating.

It makes 1 to 4 servings, depending on appetite!