To make olive salad:
In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a blade attachment, pulse the first four ingredients for about 10 seconds. Add olive oil and crushed red pepper and pulse a few seconds more. Stop well before the mixture becomes a paste. You want big chunks. Set aside.
To assemble muffuletta:
Slice the ciabatta roll in half crosswise. Lather the olive salad on bread and arrange salami, pepperoni, ham and the cheeses in layers. Top with other piece of bread and press down. Toast on sandwich press or eat as is.
About this recipe
What is the secret of a good sandwich; the bread that encases or the filling it packs? In France, with its famously skimpy fillings, it’s more about the crusty baguette than the ham and cheese slivers. In Salmon, it may a little of both. Craig McCallum, intrepid baker at Odd Fellows’ Bakery, shares his recipe for a muffuletta sandwich (pronounced “moof-uh-LOT-uh). McCallum first encountered a muffuletta on a cross-country bike trip he took with a buddy of his, ages ago. After a series of bike breakdowns, the two lingered in Slidell, Louisiana, where they stumbled upon a small shop that served this tasty mix of cold cuts and cheeses.
“As soon as I saw it, [I thought] it looks like something that had originated from here. I got it and it was like the best sandwich I have ever had,” says McCallum.
Louisiana lore says that the muffuletta sandwich was invented in New Orleans, just across Lake Pontchartain from Slidell. In the early 1900s, Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Lupo came up with the recipe at his shop, the French Quarter’s still-open Central Grocery. Sicilian farmers would gather at the store and eat drippy plates of antipasto balanced on their laps until Lupo decided to gather the meats, cheeses and chopped olives together in a slightly more tidy sandwich.
McCallum puts his spin on the muffuletta of memory, adding garlic, olives and capers to the sandwich’s signature olive salad topping. The meats and cheeses are sliced thin and layered. Odd Fellows’ Bakery serves it warm. Toast it on a panini press if your feeling ambitious, but chances are, you won’t want to wait. The result is a uniquely satisfying sandwich that screams Louisiana.
As for a drink to go with? I asked Rick Boyd, the proprietor of Brewforia Beer Market in Merdian what he thinks would be the best beer complement. As a southern boy himself and very familiar with the Muffuletta, he suggested “an American Pale Ale like Grand Teton Sweetgrass, Firestone Walker Pale 31 or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.