German Style ‘Muffuletta’

Lunch on the dock or deck doesn’t get any easier than this Muffuletta style sandwich. It is made the day before serving and will easily make 6 generous sandwich servings.

Muffuletta is a traditional sandwich made famous in New Orleans. There are many heated arguments on what constitutes an authentic muffuletta. I am borrowing the technique and filling it with our preferred German meats and cheeses. The hallmark of the authentic version uses an Italian sesame loaf, which is the muffuletta, filled with olive salad that is spread on top and bottom bread portions, and layers of salami, ham, mortadella, swiss cheese and provolone cheese slices.

I used Turkey Kielbasa slices, Salami, Swiss cheese, olive salad and I threw in a couple of layers of crisp sweet pepper rings and red onions to add a bit of crunch. You can use whatever cold meats and cheeses you like.

Round loaf of bread with many layers of cured meats and cheese and olive salad

It was hard for me not to slather a layer of mustard over some of the salami layers but I held back and I was glad I did. The olive salad adds a salty vinegar-y touch much like the sauce on a a submarine sandwich. It was definitely enough flavour!

I don’t know where to source a true muffuletta loaf in my area so I made my Beer Bread in an 8″ round pan. You can use any round loaf like pumpernickel or focaccia. You just want the bread to be fairly sturdy and a bit dense so it doesn’t end up soggy from the olive salad. Sour dough crust I suspect is going to be a bit too chewy to work here.

This sandwich is very high with all the layers of filling and the substantial loaf. You will hollow out some of the soft inside of the top and bottom halves. Don’t skip this step because it is too high to bite into a wedge from top to bottom (for most people anyway). Scooping out the inside will help with this. It is also advisable to secure each wedge with a bamboo or wooden skewer to help hold it together. I also like to wrap my wedge in parchment paper to catch any stray bits of the filling or olive salad.

Wedges of muffuletta with cure meats, cheeses and peppers, wrapped in parchment paper
A skewer and parchment wrap help contain the generous filling of this muffuletta.

The ingredients I have listed below were for the 8″ round loaf. You overlap them in concentric circles so you may need a bit more if you use a large loaf of bread.

I also used my homemade Antipasto which was absolutely delicious in this. You can use the Costco Antipasto version or you can make your own olive salad. I included instructions for a quick olive salad that is a combination of Emeril’s and Land o’ Lakes. There are commercial muffuletta spreads available as well for example, Longo’s, Costco or Aurora’s.

Chef’s Tips for German Style Muffuletta

  • I do not pretend that this is a classic muffuletta that showcases Italian cold meats and cheeses. But the format is too good not to take advantage of!
  • Keys to success here are 1) a good sturdy, dense loaf of bread 2) don’t skip scooping out some of the soft center from the base and top of the loaf. The sandwich is very thick even after the scooping out and you don’t want to overpower the filling with too much bread to meat ratio and 3) the olive relish that serves as the condiment for the sandwich really makes the final flavour.
  • Some recipes say you can serve this as soon as you make it but resting with a heavy weight overnight helps meld the filling and the bread so if holds together much, much better than when freshly made.
  • Get creative and use your favourite cold meats and cheeses.

Wine Pairing for German Style Muffuletta

Well… let me state the obvious… since this sandwich is made with beer bread-albeit there is only a very light hint of beer flavour- a cold beer would be an ideal accompaniment.

For non-beer drinkers I would say you need a sturdy wine to stand up to the olive and vinegar of the condiment here. Think Sauvignon Blanc, an herbal, savoury Rosé or a robust red such as Bonarda, Sangiovese or Syrah.

wedges of muffuletta sandwich filled with olive relish, cold meat and cheese slices

German Style 'Muffuletta'

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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 1 d 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

Olive Salad

  • 1/2 cup mixed pickled vegetables finely chopped (Cauliflower, carrots, onions etc)
  • 1 Tbsp liquid from pickled vegetables
  • 1/2 cup sliced pimento stuffed olives
  • 1 Tbsp liquid from olives
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives slices
  • 1 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil

Muffuletta

  • 8" round loaf of dense bread focaccia, pumpernickel or you choice
  • 12 oz slices of Turkey Kielbasa thinly sliced. I used Ziggy's.
  • 6 oz dry cured Hungarian Salami
  • 10 oz Swiss Cheese slices
  • 1 sweet bell pepper cored and sliced horizontally
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
  • white vinegar to cover onion slices

Instructions

Olive Salad

  • Mix all ingredients and allow to sit while you make the rest. Can be made a day or two ahead.

Muffuletta

  • Submerge the red onion in white vinegar and allow to stand about 10 minutes. Can be made the day ahead. Drain off vinegar before using.
  • Cut the loaf in half horizontally. Hollow out some of the soft centre of the top and bottom leaving them 1/4 to 1/2" deep.
  • Spread half the olive salad on the inside of top and half on the bottom of the bread. The bread will absorb some of the juices and tenderize a bit overnight.
  • Layer in concentric circles to the bottom of the loaf - add a layer for each of Kielbasa slices, sweet pepper, Kielbasa, red onion. For the top half layer Swiss cheese, Hungarian Salami, sweet pepper, Swiss cheese, Hungarian Salami. (Order of layers is not critical as long as you alternate).
  • Quickly and carefully flip the top half of the sandwich onto the bottom.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Weight down with a cast iron skillet or some other weight and allow sandwich to rest in the fridge overnight or up to 2 days.
  • When ready to serve, remove wrap and slice into wedges. Serve wedges wrapped in parchment paper.

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 680kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 1946mg | Potassium: 219mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g

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