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Weekend Recipe: New Orleans Muffulettas

Have you ever had the original muffuletta sandwich from Central Grocery in New Orleans? It's really one of the world's perfect sandwiches. Sicilian sesame bread is filled with mortadella, salami, provolone, hot capicola, and garnished with a tangy olive salad. This America's Test Kitchen recipe helps the home cook capture the entire experience: store-bought pizza dough replicates a similar style of bread, while the homemade olive condiment will be something you'll always want to have on hand. Enjoy!

 

Photo courtesy of Cook's Country
Photo courtesy of Cook's Country

New Orleans Muffulettas
Serves 8

2 (1-pound) balls pizza dough
2 cups drained jarred giardiniera
1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
5 teaspoons sesame seeds
4 ounces thinly sliced Genoa salami
6 ounces thinly sliced aged provolone cheese
6 ounces thinly sliced mortadella
4 ounces thinly sliced hot capicola

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Form dough balls into 2 tight round balls on oiled baking sheet, cover loosely with greased plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, pulse giardiniera, green olives, kalamata olives, capers, vinegar, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and thyme in food processor until coarsely chopped, about 6 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer to bowl and stir in oil and parsley. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Olive salad can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Keeping dough balls on sheet, flatten each into 7-inch disk. Brush tops of disks with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until golden brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer loaves to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. (Loaves can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours.)

Slice loaves in half horizontally. Spread one-fourth of olive salad on cut side of each loaf top and bottom, pressing firmly with rubber spatula to compact. Layer 2 ounces salami, 1 1/2 ounces provolone, 3 ounces mortadella, 1 1/2 ounces provolone, and 2 ounces capicola in order on each loaf bottom. Cap with loaf tops and individually wrap sandwiches tightly in plastic.

Place baking sheet on top of sandwiches and weigh down with heavy Dutch oven or two 5-pound bags of flour or sugar for 1 hour, flipping sandwiches halfway through pressing. Unwrap and slice each sandwich into quarters and serve. (Pressed, wrapped sandwiches can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

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