Thursday, February 5, 2009


Muffuletta-Portland Style

It seems that since about Thanksgiving I have been eating like a bear getting ready for hibernation. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, My 50th B-day, and finally this past weekend the Super Bowl. Yikes, any more marathon caloric intake events and I am going to challenge Joey Chestnut at the Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest in 2009.
My group of friends are huge foodies and big time wine people as well. Our Super Bowl parties end up being more like a holiday cocktail party versus becoming a college like.... pretzel, chip, Bud Lite event that seems to be more the norm for this most hallowed American tradition.
Since I was hosting I wanted to do something a little over the top as far as food went. In the past I have made Chili, Cioppino and even a fantastic Paella. This year I wanted to make something fun, festive and basically something that I could do ahead of time (hey, I wanted to watch the game).
When I contemplate the words "fun", "festive" and "over the top" the first thing that comes to mind is New Orleans. Damn, that city has a complete grip on my foodie cerebral cortex. What isn't to like about a city that has great food, awesome cocktails, lax laws about public nudity and a place that virtually encourages public intoxication (no open container laws......and drinks to go are the norm)?
I am not sure, but it may be a law that you have to have at least a 16 oz. alcoholic beverage in your hand to even be allowed to walk up and down Bourbon Street. To be safe when I last visited I didn't want to offend any locals or break any laws so I made sure I had a beverage in my hand at all times.
Anyway, back to the Superbowl........ and what to make for a main course. In New Orleans there is a funky Italian deli called the Cental Grocery Co. that serves up my favorite sandwich on the planet...The Muffuletta. The locals call it a Muff-a-lotta, but however you pronounce it this sandwich it is an awesome collection of olive salad, genoa salami, ham, mortadella, provolone cheese and a great sicilian style round bread loaf.
The cold cuts and cheese are no sweat to come by. The bread and the olive salad took some work and I was lucky to have a good bakery nearby that actually sells a Sicilian round loaf that is very close to a muffuletta loaf.
As far as the Olive Salad is concerned I am sure there are as many recipes as there are recreations of this sandwich. All I know is that if you let this mixture sit for a few days before you use it you will be rewarded handsomely.
Olive Salad....I am so proud

Olive Salad
1 cup Green Olives w/Pimentos-chopped
1/2 cup Kalamata Olives-chopped
2 Tbsp. Capers
1 Carrot-fine dice
1 Celery Stick-fine dice
1 Jar Giardiniera (pickled cauliflower,celery, carrots, peppers, onion, etc.)-chopped
1/2 cup green onions- fine dice
1/2 cup Red Onion-fine dice
3-4 or 8 Garlic cloves-fine dice
Olive Oil-to cover

I sliced the round bread loaf in half and pulled out about 1/2 of the bread then started with a layer of Olive Salad and went with the provolone, ham, mortadella, salami, more provolone ( use your judgement...3-4 oz. of each makes a BIG sammy), some more Olive salad and topped with the bread. Wrap this bad boy in plastic wrap as tight as you can get it and let this sit for a couple of hours. For serving cut the sandwich into fourths, crack a cold beverage and enjoy the game.
Say Ahhhh!