Originating n New Orleans, the muffuletta is a sandwich that’s made on a round, disc-like sesame bread filled with cured meats, marinated olives, and pickled vegetables. Though you can buy a muffuletta at any number of places in the city, it all began at Central Grocery in the French Quarter, where it came about as a way for Sicilians to combine the separate ingredients of their meal.
Central Grocery, a great place for fine Italian goods, sells the muffuletta by the round ($17.95) or half-round ($9.50), both of which come in their signature white paper wrappers. Two very hungry eaters may easily put away the whole round.
The loaf is chockful of marinated olives and lightly pickled vegetables: little florets of cauliflower and carrots (giardiniera), then layered with salami, capicola, pepperoni, ham, and thick slices of provolone and Emmentaler cheese.
A muffuletta, without a doubt, is one of the best combinations of sandwich parts. The meat and cheese are what you might find in any type of Italian submarine-style sandwich, but the marinated olives and whole pickled vegetable thing, all held steady by a sesame bread with a texture similar to focaccia, is unbeatable. Some of the juices from the olives and vegetable seep into the bread, making it a chewy delight.
For the best local version of the muffuletta check out Jimmy’s Food Store in East Dallas.