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Muffuletta
The muffuletta was born in 1906 at the legendary Central Grocery in New Orleans, where founder Salvatore Lupo created the giant stuffed sandwich for fellow Sicilians who worked at the nearby wharves and French market. Named for the round seeded loaf of Sicilian bread that provides its foundation, the classic muffuletta is filled with salumi (cured meats), cheeses and garlicky olive salad. Today, hot and cold variations of the sandwich appear on menus throughout New Orleans.

Olive salad, an essential ingredient for muffuletta, can be found in the condiment section of most supermarkets. It is also easy to make your own (see related recipe at left).

Ingredients:

  • 4 Kaiser or other round, seeded rolls, each 4
      inches in diameter, split
  • 1 cup olive salad
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced cooked ham
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced Genoa salami
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced mortadella
  • 4 slices provolone cheese

Directions:

Lay the roll halves, cut sides up, on a work surface. Brush the cut sides with oil from the olive salad. On the bottom half of each roll, spread 2 Tbs. to 1/4 cup olive salad. Place the ham, salami, mortadella and cheese on top, dividing evenly. Cover each sandwich with the top half of a roll. Cook the sandwiches immediately, or cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to develop.

Preheat an electric panini press on medium-low according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Place the sandwiches, one at a time, on the preheated panini press. Cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until the sandwich is warmed through and the cheese is melted, 6 to 8 minutes.

Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut each into quarters. Serve warm. Serves 6 to 8.

Inspired by the classic sandwich served throughout New Orleans.