Sunday, August 30, 2009

Muffuletta and an Old Man

My kitchen is no Central Grocery, the New Orleans home of the famous Italian (Sicilian to be exact) Muffuletta Sandwich. Central Grocery boasts on their sign, "Imitated By Many. . .But Never Duplicated".

There is much discussion about this sandwich, but everyone agrees the crowning touch is the olive salad used to dress the sandwich. Second is the bread; some say use a bagette, some ciabatta. I will say I have actually eaten a "Muff" from the Central Grocery, and to my palate, the bread was a soft, round Italian loaf. They fill their sandwich with capiocola, salami, mortadella, emmental, and provolone cheese, in addition to the olive salad.

I used a purchased focaccia, which was about 7 inches in diameter, and 3 inches high, for my Imitation Muffuletta. I piled it with ham, turkey, salami, and provolone. Here is the olive salad I concocted. It is a delicious sandwich, no matter how you imitate yours.

Olive Salad

1 jar Giardeniera, chopped
1 1/2 cups pimiento stuffed olives, chopped
3 - 4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper

Blend together, then pour over 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Stir well before applying to the sandwich.

The old man part. . .when I went into the grocery to buy the ingredients I needed for my sandwich, I passed by a stooped and decrepit looking old man. He was holding his wallet and struggling to open it, as if to check it's contents, but his hands no longer worked very well. It occurred to me to offer to help him, but something told me, No. After I completed my shopping, I exited the store the same time as the man and I slowed so as not to rush him. Suddenly my vision blurred because of the tears welling in my eyes. The old man was hobbling away admiring the beautiful bouquet of flowers he had just purchased.

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