For many years, the highlight of our social calendar was an annual Mardi Gras party thrown by local friends! Sadly they moved out of state but the memories of this fun event, filled with great friends, incredible foods and delicious drinks lives on.
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The muffaletta sandwich originated in New Orleans at Central Grocery, where they are still making it today. It’s a delicious concoction of Italian meats and cheeses combined with a spicy Creole olive salad.
While this is certainly a great sandwich for a Mardi Gras party, it is also works well for tailgating in the fall or for a Super Bowl party.
- 1 large round bread loaf, 8- to 9-inches in diameter
- 1 cup Creole olive salad – purchase the Central Grocery original HERE
- 4 ounces each salami, cappicola and deli ham, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces each fresh mozzarella and provolone, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Slice bread loaf in half, horizontally, and remove enough of crumb to make room for fillings. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom half then top with 3/4 cup of the olive salad.
Layer the meats and cheeses on bottom half of bread, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Before placing top onto sandwich, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 cup of the olive salad. Allow it to sit for at least 1 hour for the flavors to marry and the oil to soak into the bread.
- Soft sesame is the traditional muffaletta bread but can be hard to find. I use a 9-inch round french loaf.
- I usually go extra heavy on the olive salad, using about 1 1/2 cups total, 1 on the bottom and 1/2 cup on top.
Wrap the sandwich in foil and bake until warmed throughout and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. NOTE: The sandwich can also be served at room temperature if you feel like skipping this step.
Cut in pieces to serve. For this meal, I served the muffaletta with a chicken and andouille sausage gumbo and cornichons. Dessert was Bananas Foster gelato. Locally, Heinen’s Two Brothers brand makes one. Häagen-Dazs does as well. Kick it up a notch further by topping the gelato with praline-coated pecans!
Throw a Mardi Gras Party
If you are looking to host a Mardi Gras party, beyond the muffaletta, think about including:
- A bowl of crawfish
- King cake
- Hurricanes or Sazeracs to drink
Decorating for a Mardi Gras is so much fun! Your color scheme is pre-set: green, gold and purple are the official colors of Mardi Gras. Hang plenty of beads, boas and streamers. Throw in some masks or fleur de lis. In short order you’ll have your guests thinking they’re on Bourbon Street.
CLE folk, if you want the fun without having to do the work, check out Russo’s Mardi Gras party on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. They do Cajun and Creole food better than anyone and will have all the foods, drinks, bands and more! Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Next week I’ll be talking about all the can’t miss spots in the Big Easy! Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great weekend.