Muffuletta is essentially a flat, savory, very dark, thin crusted bread which is prepared in two different versions as per the Sicilian and New Orleans, Louisiana cuisines. The Sicilian version is sesame bread whereas the Louisiana version is a kind of a submarine sandwich. Being not as tender in structure as bread loaves, the Muffuletta is somewhat like the Foccacia ( which is like pizza bread).
Origin of Muffuletta Recipe
Muffuletta, the sesame bread is a Sicilian invention. The sandwich which was made in the New Orleans was first prepared in Central Grocery in the year 1906. According to Marie Lupo Tusa, the daughter of the owner of Central Grocery, the invention of the sandwich was made by her father who suggested local Sicilian farmers who took Muffuletta bread , meat and other ingredients from his store, to arrange the ingredients in the form of a sandwich, a proposition which the Sicilian peasants seemed to like very much.
Ingredients Commonly Suggested by Muffuletta Recipe
Muffuletta bread is essentially composed of bread flour, all-purpose flour, salt, sugar and water. Yeast is required for leavening. Sesame or anise seeds are also added as an ingredient to this bread if desired. The sandwich, for which New Orleans is famous for, requires ingredients like salami, pepperoni, Capicola, Provolone, Emmentaler and ham which are used as filling ingredients for the bread. The olive salad, made by blending celery, cauliflower, and carrot with olives in olive oil with garlic and oregano seasoning is served with the muffuletta sandwich. The olive salad with pickled vegetables is likened to the Giardiniera (a condiment from the Italian-American cuisine).
Preparation Overview of Muffuletta
Muffuletta recipe comprises the preparation of both the bread and the sandwich made with it.
Preparation Overview of Muffuletta bread
The preparation of the bread involves making dough with the mentioned ingredients and baking it after allowing it to rise for sometime.
Preparation of the Muffuletta Sandwich
The Muffuletta recipe for the sandwich is more important than that of the bread itself in the New Orleans area in which it is one of the most popular Italian American recipes.
The muffuletta sandwich is conveniently made by slitting the bread into halves, filling it with the olive relish and layering it with meat and vegetables and covering the ensemble with the top half of the muffuletta loaf.
Popular Mufulletta recipe serving suggestions include preparation of the dish at least an hour before consumption, wrapping the sandwich in an airtight plastic container to enable complete blending of the juices of the filling for better flavoring of the dish. The muffuletta loaf with the filling is sliced into quarters and served. They can also be cut into smaller pieces and served as appetizers.
A variant of the Muffuletta sandwich is presented by Emeril Laggasse, a renowned chef of America. It is made by filling the sourdough bread with olive salad, mozzarella cheese, Culatello ham, provolone and fontina. The oil at the base of the olive salad seeps into the bread and mixes with other juices of the filling making the dish very flavorful.