I would never have even thought of this recipe had I not first spied jars of olive salad from Gambino’s of Kenner, LA at my local Fry’s grocery store. The original muffaletta sandwich originated at The Central Grocery on Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Traditionally the sandwich is layers of cold cuts and cheese on a very large round sesame bread loaf with Central Grocery’s never-before-revealed secret recipe for olive salad. Since I can’t get my hands on the bread; and I now have a reliable olive salad; and my goal is an appetizer that I can share at a party, I created this recipe.
As evidence to how delightful these are, I took them to a Mardi Gras themed party this weekend and the other native New Orleanians hovered around the platter and scarffed them down. When the natives love them, you know its got to be good.
- One loaf French bread sliced in 1/4” slices
- ½ pound Emmental or other Swiss cheese
- ½ pound salami
- ½ pound provolone
- ½ jar olive salad (drained well)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds*
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread rounds on a Cookie Sheet or Stoneware Bar Pan. Drain olive salad (retaining the oil). In a small bowl, mix the sesame seeds with the olive salad. Use the oil from olive salad to brush rounds using Chef’s Silicone Basting Brush. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Keep the olive oil for future use. I store it in the fridge and use it to flavor all kinds of dishes.
To build sandwiches, start with one quarter piece of Emmental or Swiss and top that with 1/4 to 1/2 slice of salami. Spoon a scant 1 tsp of the olive mixture onto each toast round and top with ¼ slice of provolone.
Place back in oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese melts and starts to brown. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Kat’s tip: Toasting sesame seeds brings out their nutty flavor. To toast them, place a thin layer of sesame seeds in a dry non-stick pan. Place on medium heat, stirring often until they start to brown (8-10 minutes). Watch them closely so they don’t burn. Store in an airtight container in your pantry or in the freezer (indefinitely or until their gone is the rule in my house).