The quintessential New Orleans sandwich, the muffuletta, is rarely found anywhere outside of the Crescent City. Pronounced “moo-foo-LET-ta,” this deli meat and cheese hero piled with a tangy olive salad is a New Orleans specialty but is pure Sicilian.
Since the Super Bowl is being played in New Orleans this Sunday and I need to bring a salad to the party, I decided to transform the sandwich into a salad. It begins with the same flavorsome olive salad, (which needs to marinate 24 hours) cubes of meats and cheese (instead of thin slices, ask the deli to cut a 1/4-inch-thick slice of each, for you to cube). The only difference between the sandwich and the salad is I eliminated the bread and added orzo pasta. It’s muffuletta you eat with a fork.
- 1 (10-ounce) jar pimento-stuffed green olives, drained
- 1 cup giardiniera (pickled cauliflower, carrots, celery, onions)
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1/2 cup pepperoncini, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- Black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 pound mortadella, cubed
- 1/4 pound Genoa salami, cubed
- 1/4 pound ham, cubed
- 1/4 pound provolone cheese, cubed
- 3 cups orzo pasta, cooked.
- Roughly chop the olives and the giardiniera (if you use a food processor, pulse a couple of times, being careful not to chop to fine).
- Transfer to a large bowl and add the celery, garlic, pepperoncini and oregano. Add a few grinds of fresh ground pepper.
- Pour in the olive oil, mix all the ingredients, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Meanwhile you can cube the meats and cheese, refrigerate until you’re ready to put it all together.
- Cook the orzo, (do not rinse).
- To make the salad, combine the 3 cups of the vegetable mixture with the meats and cheese, stir in the orzo. Chill until ready to use. There will be about 1 cup of the olive mixture leftover (enough for you to make a muffuletta sandwich).