Recipe for muffoletta olive salad
First posted 3 July 2003 at 1840 GMT
Last updated 22 July 2003 at 2235 GMT
By Joe O'Connell,
LOS ANGELES, California, USA — Olive salad complements not only the
authentic muffoletta sandwich but many Sicilian and Mediterranean
Olive salad always includes olives (including green olives, black
olives and the olive oil), celery, cauliflower, carrots, sweet peppers,
onions, capers, parsley, pepperoncini, oregano, garlic, as well as the
vinegar used to preserve the vegetables and other herbs and spices.
The appearance, taste and texture of different olive salads varies
because of differences in the herbs and spices.
The following is an excellent recipe for olive salad. The
difference between this recipe and the recipe used to make authentic New
Orleans muffoletta sandwiches relates only to the herbs and spices,
which provide a complex taste foundation for the salad.
The following recipe makes one quart of olive salad, which is
sufficient for one 10" or two 7" muffoletta sandwiches.
The recipe may be increased proportionately.
The preparation time depends on three factors: the time to
prepare and age the pickled vegetables (olives, celery, cauliflower,
carrots, sweet pepper, cocktail onions, shallots, capers and
pepperoncini); the time to mix these vegetables and the herbs and
spices; and the time to allow the olive salad to age.
Selection of ingredients
When olive salad was first developed, refrigeration was non-existent
or rare and fresh vegetables were unavailable for most of the year.
Without refrigeration of some means of preservation, olives and other
vegetables will rot within days or weeks.
As a consequence, farmers developed several techniques for preserving
vegetables. In Sicily, each household preserved olives and other
vegetables. Olives were preserved with a water-brine cure, while
vegetables were preserved with vinegar ("pickling"). To enhance
the flavors, various local herbs and spices were added to the olives and
Olive salad was developed by Sicilian families who mixed their own
cured olives with their own pickled vegetables. Each family had
its own recipe for cured olives, pickled vegetables, and the resulting
Families with the time and interest will achieve an even better olive
salad by themselves curing the olives and pickling the vegetables.
Those who do not have the time to cure or pickle their own olives and
vegetables will find that most supermarkets around the world carry cured
olives and pickled vegetables. However, mass-produced olives and
vegetables rarely have the correct balance of herbs and spices.
Therefore, the following recipe directs that the olives and vegetables
be rinsed off (to rinse away the herbs and spices) and that the correct
balance of oils, vinegar, herbs and spices be added to the mixture,
which will then be aged to meld the flavors.
The ingredients for this recipe for olive salad include the following
(but see the directions on how these ingredients must be combined):
- 2/3 Cup light vegetable oil
- 1/4 Cup olive oil
- 1 TS red-wine vinegar
- 4 TB green olives, stuffed with pimientos
- 1 TB pimientos (from the green olives)
- 1 TB Nicoise olives
- 1 TB Kalamatas olives
- 3 TB pickled celery
- 3 TB pickled cauliflower flowerets
- 3 TB pickled carrots
- 1 TB pickled sweet pepper (red bell pepper)
- 1 TB pickled cocktail onions
- 1 TB pickled shallots
- 1 TB pickled capers
- 1 TB pickled pepperoncini
- 1 TB dried parsley
- 2 TS dried oregano
- 1 TS salt
- 1 TS black pepper (finely ground)
This recipe requires only a minimum of equipment:
- One-pint measuring bowl
- One-quart glass or ceramic (non-reactive) mixing bowl
- One-pint wide-mouth mason jar, with self-sealing like
- Cutting board
- Chef's (chopping) knife
- Small wooden spoon
1. Mix the vegetable oil, olive oil and vinegar in the
measuring bowl, and set aside.
2. Place the olives (but see the note) and vegetables in the
mixing bowl. Fill the bowl with clean, cold water, and rinse them
under cold running water for 30 seconds. Pour them into a colander
to drain off the water, and leave them in the colander to dry at room
temperature for 5 minutes.
Note: If using cured olives, check the label. If the
olives are packed in oil, then do not rinse them in water.
3. Remove and discard any seeds, and place the olives into the
mason jar. With a wooden spoon, crush the olives roughly, so that
there are large chunks of olives and their oil.
4. On a clean cutting board, coarsely chop the vegetables (not
the olives) into chunks or slices of 1/4" or less. Then add the
vegetables to the mason jar.
5. Add the parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to the mason jar.
6. Pour the oil-vinegar mixture into the mason jar until the olives
and vegetables are covered, and then thoroughly mix the ingredients.
Make sure to mix it enough to remove any air pockets and bubbles. Then
pour more of the oil-vinegar mixture to reach the top of the mason jar.
Close and seal the jar.
7. Refrigerate the sealed jar for at least one day (one week is
Note: If some but not all of the olive salad is used, make sure that any
remaining salad is covered by the oil-vinegar mixture and remains