In the world of Louisiana sandwiches, the muffaletta is “a bit of a sleeper,” says chef Kristen Essig. She should know. The Florida native relocated to New Orleans in 1999, cultivating her skills in the city that she had long considered her culinary home. But while the tower of Italian meat and cheese may seem less sexy at first than, say, a deep-fried po’ boy, trust us: one bite of this sando, which at Dauphine’s Essig seasons generously with not one, not two, but three condiments, and you’ll be convinced of its superiority.
The muffaletta (also spelled muffuletta) is named for its round sesame bread, which was exceedingly popular among Sicilian immigrants to NOLA at the turn of the century. It’s a relatively simple loaf that performs a few essential tasks, not just lending structural integrity to what would otherwise be a paleo dieter’s dream, but also soaking up all that delicious brine from the house-made olive salad that provides much of the seasoning for this sandwich. At Dauphine’s, Essig adds a whopping two cups of the stuff to each sandwich.
“It’s a lot! I know!” says Essig. “But it really soaks into the bread.”
And it’s not the only thing. The bread base is also slathered with creole mustard on one side, while the other is spread with pecorino mayonnaise, made by combining equal parts of the assertive Italian sheep’s milk cheese and classic Duke’s mayo.
Does Your BLT Need an Omelet in the Middle? This DC Chef Says Yes.We’ve got Mike Friedman’s recipe for the BLT+E
“Any leftovers are easy to use up,” she says of the sauce. “You can whisk in a little buttermilk and a touch of apple cider vinegar for a creamy salad dressing.”
Thusly seasoned, the bread halves are ready to be piled high with pretty much the whole deli window: Genoa salami and hot coppa, pistachio-studded mortadella and pink slices of country ham. Smoked provolone adds even more rich umami flavor.
It’s certainly a beast of a sandwich, which is just one reason they serve it in “mini” form at Dauphine’s — perfect for happy hour, the Super Bowl or Mardi Gras. But since we got the recipe for you, feel free to go hog wild with the portions.
Dauphine’s Muffaletta Sandwich
Servings: 1 sandwich
- 1 sesame semolina roll (Dauphine’s makes theirs in-house; store-bought Italian-style rolls that are slightly crusty on the outside also work)
- 1/4 lb. Genoa salami
- 1/4 lb. hot coppa
- 1/4 lb. pistachio mortadella
- 1/4 lb. ham (or country ham)
- 1/8 lb. provolone (at Dauphine’s, they use smoked provolone)
- 2 cups olive salad (see recipe below)
- 1/2 cup Duke’s mayo
- 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
- 1/4 cup creole mustard
Mix the grated pecorino cheese with the Duke’s Mayo. Set aside.
Spread ½ cup of the pecorino mayonnaise mixture onto one side of sesame semolina roll, and spread creole mustard onto the other side.
Layer Genoa salami, pistachio mortadella, hot coppa, country ham and provolone onto the roll. Top with olive salad and serve.
Dauphine’s Olive Salad
Servings: 8 cups
- 16-oz. jar of giardiniera
- 1 cup pitted Niçoise olives
- 1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, queen size
- 1/2 cup hot pickled cherry peppers
- 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, with the stems left on
- 2 bunches green onion, thinly sliced
- 8 sprigs marjoram, leaves removed and coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Calabrian chili paste
- 1 quart extra virgin olive oil
Drain the liquid from the giardiniera, the olives and the pickled cherry peppers (remove any stems from the cherry peppers). Tip: Reserve this juice (not for this recipe, but it’s a delicious addition to your Bloody Marys or vinaigrettes).
Chop the giardiniera, the olives and the peppers by hand or, alternatively, place each of these ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and lightly pulse them until coarsely chopped. Place all these coarsely chopped ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix well with a spatula. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one month.
Put on everything!
Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.