Recipe for Muffoletta Sandwich
Original muffoletta sandwich
First posted 3 July 2003 at 1840 GMT
Last updated 22 July 2003 at 0143 GMT
By Joe O'Connell,
LOS ANGELES, California, USA — The original muffoletta sandwich
recipe was developed in 1906 in New Orleans. The sandwich requires
only seven ingredients. However, the proportion of these
ingredients is very important.
The original sandwich was constructed so that the bread retains all
the fillings for several hours without leaking.
Recall the history: the Central Grocery
made the sandwiches very early in the morning. The Sicilian
farmers in New Orleans purchased the sandwiches to eat at mid-day.
Because the muffoletta bread is dense, the bread absorbed the olive oil
and did not leak. In addition, because the sandwich was not eaten
for several hours, the many flavors of the salad, meats and cheeses
melded together and grew complex.
As for the salad, hundreds of recipes for the muffoletta sandwich can
be found on the Internet. However, a review of many of the recipes
shows that few of them are authentic. Many include non-traditional
ingredients, like lettuce, tomatoes and mayonaisse. The key to the
muffoletta sandwich is simplicity of ingredients, whichi produce a
complexity of textures and flavors.
This section includes the original recipe for the muffoletta
The muffoletta sandwich requires only the following seven
ingredients: bread, salad, mortadella (the
Italian sausage), cappicola (the Italian ham), salami (the
hard Genoa salami), provolone (the Italian hard cheese) and
emmantaler (the hard Swiss cheese). The amounts of the salad, meat
and cheese depends on the size of the bread.
The original muffoletta sandwich was developed for farmers, whose
manual work required a large sandwich with a substantial amount of
ingredients. A man would eat an entire loaf of muffoletta bread,
with a 10" diameter. If the layers of salad, meat and cheese is
1/2" thick, then amount of bread, salad, meat and cheese totals more
than 39 cu.in. of food.
Today, appetites are not as large for most people, simply because
most people do not perform such hard manual labor. A 39 cu.in.
muffoletta sandwich that, 100 years ago, would have fed only a single
farmer will today feed 4 or more sedentary adults.
As a result, many bakers today reduce the size of the muffoletta loaf
from a 10" diameter to a 7" diameter. This results in a sandwich
which is only half as large as the 10" original. When filled with
the same 1/2" thick layer of salad, meat and cheese, the sandwich
contains only half the amount: about 19 cu.in. of filling.
Those who intend to make a muffoletta sandwich must consider the
proportions among the bread and the other ingredients.
On the original 10" loaf of muffoletta bread, the ingredients are as
- 10" loaf of muffoletta bread
- 1 cup olive salad
- 1/4 lb Italian mortadella
- 1/4 lb Italian cappicola
- 1/4 lb Genoa salami
- 1/4 lb Italian provolone
- 1/4 lb Swiss
Because the original 10" muffoletta sandwich is too large for today's
average person, many bakers prove a 7" muffoletta. For a 7" loaf
of muffoletta bread, the ingredients are as follows:
- 7" loaf of muffoletta bread
- 1/2 cup olive salad
- 1/8 lb Italian mortadella
- 1/8 lb Italian cappicola
- 1/8 lb Genoa salami
- 1/8 lb Italian provolone
- 1/8 lb Swiss
The taste of provolone is much stronger than emmantaler, so many will
use slightly less provolone and slightly more emmantaler.