I know from most of my posts it seems that our love of New Orleans revolves around dining out in the evening. And, yes, that is a big part of its draw. But daytime in New Orleans is just as much fun!
There is so much to do that ahead of each visit we make a list of what we want to do. But we never seem to be able to check everything off our list and that is why we return again and again. There are museums and galleries galore, great shopping, river cruises, a fabulous aquarium, fantastic parks, a wonderful zoo, universities, bayou tours, plantations and more than I could ever mention. But a few of the things on our list we just must do each and every visit. Like a stroll through the
French Quarter which wouldn’t be complete without a walk around Jackson Square to see artists of all genres. And we always browse the stalls in the French Market where one vendor after another hawks their wares. Walking up Royal Street we find boutiques and galleries to pique our interest.
All of this walking would make anyone hungry so a day in the Quarter would not be complete without heading to Central Grocery on Decatur for a Muffaletta! In all honesty we have never actually eaten one there until this trip. We normally go there just before leaving NOLA to buy all of the fixings so we can make our own at home. This time we decided to get our fix right at the source. Luckily we arrived just before the line got out of hand and only waited about twenty minutes for our turn to order with our mouths watering and our stomachs growling the entire time.
When I unwrapped my half of the sandwich I nearly swooned. The aroma of the meats mingled with their famous olive salad, cheese and fresh bread was just too much. I quickly took a bite. Yum! Steve had ordered a half for us to share because the sandwich is made on an entire boule (round loaf) of Italian bread covered with benne (sesame) seeds. But a quarter of a muffaletta was a tease so Steve went back up and ordered another half for us to share. Little piggies that we were.
A brisk walk along the Mississippi ending at The Riverwalk Outlet Mall rounded out our afternoon and gave us a chance to burn off some of our muffaletta.Print
The Original Muffaletta
According to Wikipedia: The muffuletta is both a type of round Sicilian sesame bread and a popular sandwich originating among Italian immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana using the same bread. This luscious sandwich is filled with charcuterie and marinated olive salad.
1 Sicilian muffuletta bread (if you can’t find this sesame seed crusted boule a long Italian bread is a pretty good substitute)
1 cup marinated olive salad, drained
1/3-pound thinly sliced Genoa salami
1/3-pound thinly sliced ham
1/3-pound thinly sliced mortadella
1/4-pound Imported Swiss
Preheat the oven to 400º F. Slice the bread in half horizontally. Pull out some of the bread from the bottom half to form a well leaving a border all the way around. Spread the bottom half of the bread with the olive salad and cover with the meats followed by the cheeses. Put the top half of the bread over the fillings and place on a baking sheet. Slide the baking sheet onto a rack in the middle of your preheated oven. In about 5-10 minutes the cheese should be melted. Be careful not to burn the top of the bread. Remove from the oven and cut into quarters. Serve immediately.
Don’t drain all of the olive oil from the olive salad as this is what keeps the sandwich moist and flavorful. This sandwich will serve 2-4 depending on appetites. But one fourth of a muffaletta never seems enough for me!