If you find yourself in New Orleans and hungry (very hungry), a good idea is to head over to a po’boy shop or café, and order a muffaletta. When visiting the city with my husband, we first encountered the muffaletta on the menu of Johnny's Po’boys, and the endless list of ingredients immediately intrigued my hungry man. It read something like this: ham, capicola, mortadella, salami, provolone, mozzarella, olives, artichoke hearts, capers, and pickled vegetables. Soon after the order was placed, a sandwich the size of my head dumped down on the red plastic tray in front of us, and even my hungry husband looked a little overwhelmed.
The Italian-American sandwich muffaletta, or muffuletta, as some prefer to spell it, is a staple New Orleans food, which found its way into this Southern city through Italian immigrants. Though the exact ingredients may vary, the common recipe consists of some sort of combination of Italian meats, cheeses, and a type of olive salad. All this is stuffed between a soft sesame-seed loaf, also called muffaletta, or substituted for a plain sub roll. Muffalettas are sold all over New Orleans, but it is the restaurant Central Grocery in the French Quarter that claims to be the one where the sandwich originated.
The one my husband devoured, was — at least in his opinion — delicious, and despite my doubts, almost all of the sandwich disappeared, and as we got up to leave the sandwich shop, all that was left on the paper plate was a few pieces of bread.
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