Deep South
Andy Sewell

People typically think of the French influence on the food of New Orleans, but we have the Sicilian population to thank for one of the city’s iconic dishes, the muffuletta. Created at Central Grocery in 1906, this sandwich has changed very little in the last century. It takes the typical components of an Italian antipasti plate – cured meats, cheese and olives – and layers them in an olive oil loaf. Toasted or eaten straight from the fridge, the muffuletta has been called one of the world’s best sandwiches, and I’d have to agree.

The recipe below makes twice as much olive salad as you need, but the remainder will keep well, tightly covered, in the fridge.


Quantity Ingredient

For the bread:

Quantity Ingredient
30g fresh yeast
480ml warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
600g plain flour
300g strong bread flour
50g lard
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 tsp water, to glaze
sesame seeds, to garnish

For the olive salad:

Quantity Ingredient
200g pitted green olives
350g pitted black olives
200g giardiniera pickles, (you can make your own giardinera pickle mix by following the recipe for Blue Ribbon Pickling Liquor and using equal parts carrot, cauliflower, red onion and celery; or use bought mixed vegetable pickles)
40g capers
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
50g roasted red pepper, diced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 spring onions, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt

To build:

Quantity Ingredient
400g mortadella
300g napoli salami
300g coppa di parma
400g provolone cheese


  1. First make the loaves. Mix the yeast with the water and sugar and leave until frothy. Put the flours and lard in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the machine on medium speed, gradually add the yeast mixture to form a fairly soft dough, adding more flour if it is too wet. Knead for 4–5 minutes, then add the salt and knead for another 3–4 minutes.
  2. Grease two 23cm pie plates with the extra virgin olive oil. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide in half. Shape into rounds and place in the pie plates. Wrap each one tightly in cling film and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Remove the cling film and brush the loaves with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and place in an oven heated to 200°C. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool.
  4. To make the olive salad, pulse the olives, pickles, capers and garlic together in a food processor until roughly chopped. Transfer to a bowl and mix in all the remaining ingredients, seasoning with salt to taste.
  5. To assemble the muffuletta, slice each loaf in half horizontally and fill with the ingredients in the following order: mortadella, salami, coppa di Parma, provolone, then olive salad. Cut each loaf into quarters to serve.
Southern cooking
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