Some might say that you haven’t lived until you’ve had a muffuletta sandwich at its birthplace: Central Grocery in New Orleans.
For those of you who have yet to live (dramatic,right?), a Muffuletta is a sandwich made when a soft loaf of Italian bread is topped with olive spread, a pickled Italian vegetable medley called giardiniera, salami, mortadella, ham, and provolone. The sandwich is also often has parsley, vinegar, and olive oil, and is pressed together to marry the flavors. It’s a dang good sandwich. There’s no denying it. The muffuletta was made popular back when New Orleans was just a youngin’ by the lunch habits of Italian immigrants, and ooooh how thankful we are for (among other things) their sandwich sensibilities.
Before I dive into full-blown muffuletta-land, I’m doing to tinker around with a pasta salad version. There’s lots of chopping and cubing. It’s meditative, don’t fight it. I cubed salami, ham, roasted chicken, and provolone. Crisp celery and raw onions and garlic for kick. Olives.. a lot, and sliced. Parsley and dried spices. Dignified and delicious, all of it!
Pasta talk. It’s like pillow talk but with more carbs.
I used a medium-size shell pasta. A spiral would be nice. Use whatever makes you feel right on the inside.
I found the largest mixing bowl I have. It’s a step down from the punch bowl I inherited from my parents’ wedding. I don’t know what that has to do with anything, but that’s alright.
Sharp parsley, salty olives, lots of meat and cheese, and yessss to pasta too! It’s all very good news.
Before I toss the salad, I shake up a spicy vinaigrette in a mason jar. My vinaigrette has apple cider vinegar and sriracha. Lots of tang and spice.
This pasta salad is all of the things! Salty, spicy, crunchy, filling, and just dang delicious. It’s a nice end-of-summer pot luck situation. Also bring doughnuts and you’ll be the most popular person in the world… after me. I’m pretty popular (because of the doughnuts). Kidding. Seriously.
Adapted just so from Emeril’s recipe.
You might also consider adding finely chopped carrots and capers.