Memorial Day is a time to enjoy the outdoors, whether you’re lounging on a picnic blanket or making a splash in the swimming pool. To help you make the most of your holiday, we’re highlighting one of our favorite, picnic-perfect sandwiches—the muffuletta. Chock full of complementing Sicilian-style flavors and textures, we like to think of it as an antipasto platter on a sandwich.
A muffuletta is a feast for the eyes. Layers of Italian meats such as mortadella, salami and ham, as well as slices of mozzarella and provolone cheeses, sit between two thick slices of crisp sesame-topped bread covered with a tangy-spicy salad of marinated olives and giardinera, or pickled vegetables.
The muffuletta hails from one of our favorite food cities, New Orleans, and was first assembled in the early 1900s at an Italian market called Central Grocery. As the story goes, farmers toting their produce into town would stop for lunch and eat a traditional Sicilian meal of Italian meats, cheeses, and an olive salad. The farmers ate each food separately, a time-consuming and tedious way to eat on the go. Central Grocery’s founder Salvatore Lupo realized that simply stuffing the ingredients in between two sturdy slices of bread made the farmers’ lunches much easier to eat. Today, locals and tourists alike line up outside of Central Grocery for a taste of this New Orleans classic sandwich.
Traditionalists will only eat the sandwich cold, but it can be heated up or toasted if you prefer. We’ve chosen our best muffuletta sandwiches for you to make this Memorial Day—our Family-Style Muffuletta is perfect to split and share, while our Mini Muffulettas can easily be made ahead of time.
For more ideas, check out our collection of Portable Picnic Recipes.