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|Place of origin||Italy|
|Region or state||Sicily|
|Main ingredients||one muffuletta loaf,
marinated olive salad,
layers of mortadella, salami, Swiss cheese, ham, provolone.
|Cookbook: Muffuletta Media: Muffuletta|
The muffuletta sandwich was created in 1906 at Central Grocery Co. on Decatur Street in New Orleans, LA, USA, by its owner Salvatore Lupo. Sicilians however have been making various versions of the bread for centuries. Commonly eaten during celebration days; In Palermo it is most commonly eaten on the Day of the Dead, November 2nd.
A muffuletta is a large, round, and somewhat flattened loaf with a sturdy texture, around 10 inches (25 cm) across. It is described as being somewhat similar to focaccia. Bread used for the muffuletta is different from focaccia, however, in that it is a very light bread, the outside is crispy, and the inside is soft. It has no additional seasonings baked into it, aside from the sesame seeds. The bread is more like French bread, but slightly heavier. It is most akin to an Italian dough recipe. Italian dough includes flour, water, egg, olive oil, yeast, salt and sugar. French bread uses flour, water, yeast and salt.
A traditional-style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, salami, ham, Swiss cheese, provolone, and mortadella. Quarter, half, and full-sized muffulettas are sold.
The signature olive salad consists of olives diced with the celery, cauliflower and carrot found in a jar of giardiniera, seasoned with oregano and garlic, covered in olive oil, and allowed to combine for at least 24 hours.
A muffuletta is usually served cold, but many vendors will toast it. This was mentioned in the PBS special Sandwiches That You Will Like.
In Greater New Orleans a seafood sandwich is made with muffuletta bread and fried seafood, often including oysters, shrimp, catfish and occasionally softshell crab. The seafood muffuletta omits the olive salad in favor of the traditional dressings of a seafood po'boy, such as melted butter and pickle slices, or mayonnaise and lettuce.
Pronunciation and orthography
The forms muffoletta and its iterations are modern Italianisms of the original Sicilian. Like many of the foreign-influenced terms found in New Orleans, pronunciation has evolved from a phonetic forebear.
Depending on the specific Sicilian dialect, the item may be spelled:
- Lempert, Phil (September 17, 2007). "Is the best sandwich in America the muffaletta?". Today. MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-05-10.
The secret ingredient, besides the special recipe for the sesame bread, is Central Grocery’s homemade olive spread.
- "New York Food Journal Guide to New Orleans Sandwiches and Street Food".
- Biblioteca del Centro di studi filologici e linguistici siciliani, Issues 1-4 - Page 28 from Google Books
- Introduzione allo studio del dialetto siciliano from Google Books
- Usi e costumi, credenze e pregiudizi del popolo siciliano ..., Volume 17 - Page 360 from Google Books
- La Sicilia e l'Immacolata: non solo 150 anni from Google Books
- Dizionario tascabile familiare siciliano-italiano from Google Books
- Entry for muffuletta at LEI. 6, Part 1. Google Books: Lessico etimologico italiano.
- Vocabolario siciliano etimologico, italiano e latino, Volumes 4-5 from Google Books
- Nuovo dizionario siciliano-italiano, Volume 2 from Google Books
- Media related to Muffuletta at Wikimedia Commons