Tag Archives: central grocery muffuletta

Central Grocery

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From New Orleans Restaurants

No trip to New Orleans is complete for me without a trip to Central Grocery for a Muffuletta. Detractors can fill the comments section with why they dislike the Central Grocery Muffuletta and why their favorite is so much better, have at it, but for my money Central Grocery does everything right with the sandwich that is said to have been created here by Salvatore Lupo.

Salvatore Lupo, a Sicilian immigrant opened the store in 1906 and operated it until 1946 when he retired and passed the reins to his son-in law Salvatore Tusa. The Muffuletta is said to have been invented early on to feed the Sicilian and Italian truck drivers who were driving produce, etc. to The French Market. The store is still in the family and has changed little over the years, with the exception of increased tourist traffic. Salvatore Lupo’s daughter, Marie Lupo Tusa released a cookbook in 1980 called Marie’s Melting Pot
.

Central Grocery is an old style Italian market, with Italian imports, pasta, olive oil, meats, cheeses as well as local New Orleans Creole items.

From New Orleans Restaurants
From New Orleans Restaurants
From New Orleans Restaurants
From New Orleans Restaurants

The Central Grocery Muffuletta has everything that a great Muffuletta should, a great mix of Genoa Salami, Mortadella, Ham, Mozzarella, Provolone (my Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe), a wonderful chunky Olive Salad made with Sicilian Olives just crushed, not chopped, Gardiniera, oregano, lots of oil (my Muffuletta Olive Salad Recipe) , and the quintessential bread, the round muffuletta loaf, about 10-11″ across topped with sesame seeds, light in the center with a nice crust (my Muffuletta Bread Recipe).

From New Orleans Restaurants

I love this sandwich so much that on one trip, I had all of my other meals locked in except for breakfast, and alas, purchased and almost killed an entire Central Grocery Muffuletta while sitting on the banks of the Mississippi while watching the barges roll by, and listening to a street musician trumpet the most somber rendition of Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans that I have ever heard (and I mean that as the highest compliment). All this before 10 o’clock a.m. while my wife slept-in back at the hotel.

From New Orleans Restaurants

By the way, in my humble opinion, sitting on the riverwalk is definately the best way to enjoy the Central Grocery Muffuletta, maybe not for breakfast, but definately for lunch. Grab a cold Louisiana beer or Barq’s Root Beer from the liquor store a few doors down, find a nice spot on the river and enjoy a piece of New Orleans that you won’t soon forget. Don’t forget to tip the musician who will surely cement the experience in your memory.

From New Orleans Restaurants

If you don’t get to enjoy a Muffuletta during your visit to New Orleans, at least grab one to go for the plane or car ride home! There is nothing more soul satisfying than unwrapping an enormous Muffuletta on a plane or in an airport food court and releasing the vapor of garlic and cured pork, where the captive diners will undoubtedly administer the stink eye, or question you as to where you found that sandwich, as if you found such perfection at the airport. When asked from airports in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, wherever… ‘Where did you get that sandwich?’ it is always fun to give a half cocked smile and casually say ‘New Orleans’, then take a HUGE bite out of that sucker as if it was your last morsel on earth, then shake your head in amazement as to how wonderful it tastes. Trust me, you won’t have to act.

Central Grocery
(504) 620-0174
923 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116

If you can’t make it to New Orleans I have recipes for all of the components of the Mighty Muffuletta here:

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe
Muffuletta Olice Salad Recipe
Muffuletta Bread Recipe

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole and Cajun Recipes, which links to all of the recipe featured on this site!!

Related Posts:

Napoleon House

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New Orleans Getaway

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I am on the road back to New Orleans for a very brief stay with an obscenely aggressive dining schedule! I am absolutely fired up!! First on my list is Cochon Butcher, then Mandina’s, Parasol’s, Cassamento’s (my third attempt, always closed for one reason or another when I get there), and even if I have to use the Vomatorium, I will make sure that I get an order of Drago’s Charbroiled Oysters before I go. I also have a few other culinary attractions that I aim to make it to on my short trip, more to come. I’m arriving on March 08, with an empty stomach as well as an emtpy digital camera card, and I’m leaving March 10 in the evening with both full to the gills. I really can’t wait. Here are some of my favorite pics from my last two trips, culinary and non.

Lafayette Cemetery, across the wall from Commander’s Palace.

From New Orleans

Blue Dog window shopping with reflection of Royal Street and St. Ann.

From New Orleans

Statue of Andrew Jackson with St. Louis Cathedral in the background.

From New Orleans

Central Grocery Muffuletta on the banks of the Mississippi.

From Nola Cuisine

The Central Grocery Muffuletta after a bit of air travel. I felt the same way, a little battered, but still good to go.

From New Orleans

Camellia Grill!

From New Orleans
From New Orleans

…and the best damned Pecan Pie!

From New Orleans
From New Orleans

Ferdi Special at Mother’s.

From New Orleans

Slave Quarters Evergreen Plantation. An eye opening and haunting experience, not in the “this place is haunted” sense, but the “this is how our country was built, and it should be haunted” sense. Pictures do not do this place justice.

From New Orleans
From New Orleans

The battered Dixie Brewery. I never posted on this, it was too damned depressing. I will post a few now.

From New Orleans

Who was the biggest Vandal? Katrina or THE vandals?

From New Orleans
From New Orleans
From New Orleans

Napoleon House, love this place.

From New Orleans
From New Orleans
From New Orleans

I imagine I would disappoint just a few if I didn’t mention these!

From New Orleans

Much more to come!!! See you soon New Orleans!

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Chargrilled Pizza Recipe with Olive Salad

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If you haven’t experienced Chargrilled Pizza, you are truly missing out! Yesterday’s was one of the best Pizzas I have ever eaten. This is my favorite meal in the world: Chargrilled Pizza, chunks of Fontinella cheese, and Red Wine.
I finished the pizzas with a little of my Muffuletta Olive Salad from the other day, what a gorgeous flavor compliment. Not too much though, otherwise it will take over the flavor of the whole pizza.
If you’ve never thrown a pizza on a grill, it sounds like it could be a disaster, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It cooks in only a few minutes, and the dough is crisp and blistered with fantastic grill marks. You just need a good pizza dough recipe, mine is below. The thing that really makes this pizza special is a light smoky flavor. I use a gas grill with a wood chip tray; apple wood chips. The sauce recipe below is a must for this, and it also must have smoke. Yesterday my toppings were Grilled Chicken (marinated just as the Romas), thinly julienned red onion, and bell pepper, fresh basil, and a touch of the Olive Salad. This pizza is also great with just cheese. Here is how I make it:

Basic Pizza Dough Recipe

1 Package Active Dry Yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1 1/3 Cups Water (105 d-115d F)
1 Tbsp Honey
3 1/2 – 3 3/4 Cups A.P. Flour
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Sea Salt

Combine the Yeast, Water, and Honey and let stand about 5 minutes, or until the yeast starts to bloom. I use a kitchen aid with a dough hook, gradually start adding your flour with the motor on low speed. After 1 Cup is added, add the salt. Continue adding the flour until you add about 3 1/4 cups. At this point I always turn my dough on to a lightly floured bench, bread dough is a touch thing for me. Knead the dough, adding more flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic.
Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

Smoky Roma Tomato Sauce Recipe

1 lb. Nicely Ripe Roma Tomatoes, cored and halved
3 Cloves Fresh garlic, put through a press
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
10 Turns of Black Pepper
1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper

Toss these ingredients together (no salt yet please, you don’t want all of the liquid escaping), let stand for 1 hour. Heat a Gas Grill with some wood chips. Once the grill is hot and the chips are smoldering, put the tomatoes on the grill (save the bowl), round side down. Grill them until soft, about 10 minutes. Put them back in the bowl, which probably has some basil and garlic in the bottom. I use an immersion blender to puree this, leaving it just a little chunky. Add a little honey, about 2 Tbsp Chopped Basil, and salt to taste.

Grilling the Pizza

Punch your dough down and divide into balls, about the size of a racquet ball. Put these onto a baking sheet with about 1/2 cup of olive oil (you want quite a bit). When your grill is hot and smoky, flatten out a ball in the oil, very thin, don’t sweat a few little holes. In my opinion, the more oddly shaped each pizza is the better. Throw this on the grill without letting the dough bunch up. When you check underneath, and there are nice grill marks, flip it over. Add a thin layer of sauce, Cheese (I used a mixture of Fontina, Asiago, Parmesan, and Mozzarella), and any additional toppings you like. When the dough is cooked, transfer the pizza to the top rack, this allows time for crisping, melting, and absorption of smoke. If you don’t have a top rack, keep one side of the grill on low. Top with chopped Basil.

Related links:

Muffuletta Olive Salad Recipe

Check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun recipes!

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Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

In my humble opinion, the Central Grocery’s Muffuletta is the best. It’s the standard that all other Muffulettas should strive to emulate! There are a lot of bad ones in the city. The one at Napoleon House is pretty good, it’s a heated version with a more finely chopped olive salad. They use Pastrami on their version, I’m not crazy about that part, but it’s pretty good. Pretty good, but like all others, it’s no Central Grocery.
I watched Emeril Live the other night, Mario Batali was a guest, and Emeril made a Muffuletta. Now, the meats and cheeses he used looked phenomenal, his olive salad looked great, but then he came to the bread. He used a nice looking loaf of bread, but it was obviously too much of a rustic loaf for a Muffuletta, I like something a little lighter for the Muffuletta (with sesame seeds of course), but I guess I can live with that part. But then… he cuts the bread, right, and out of nowhere (dramatic pause) he plunges his meat hooks into it and digs out all of the wonderful center of the bread on both sides and discards it! I almost fell out of my chair! My skin is crawling just thinking about it. The moral of the story is this:

Don’t do that. It makes my skin crawl. Unless of course you like it that way, then to hell with me.

Back to the recipe, I make a pretty good Muffuletta, but I’ll be honest, it’s no Central Grocery, but it’s pretty darned good. The quality bread, as I just emphasized is important, you need about a 10 inch round loaf with a good coarse texture, and a nice crust (not too hard) and sesame seeds. Here is my recipe, with a deep, humble bow to Central Grocery:

My Muffuletta

1 10″ round loaf Italian bread with Sesame seeds My Recipe
1 Recipe Olive Salad
1/4 lb Genoa Salami (Oldani is the best, and I’m relatively certain it’s what CG uses)
1/4 lb Hot Capicola (this is my spin, you can use regular Ham.)
1/4 lb Mortadella (I use San Danielle)
1/8 lb Sliced Mozzarella
1/8 lb Provolone

Assembly:
Cut the bread in half length wise.
Brush both sides with the oil from your 1 week old Olive Salad, go a little heavier on the bottom.
Layer half of the Oldani on the bottom half of the bread. Then the Mortadella. Then the Mozzarella, then the Capicola, Provolone, and the remainder of Oldani. Top this with the olive salad. Put the lid on and press it down without smashing the bread. Quarter it. You’ve just created pure heaven.

Serves: 4 light eaters, 2 hungry hangovers or one bad to the bone eating machine!

From Nola Cuisine

My Other New Orleans Sandwich Recipes:

Roast Beef Po’ Boy with Debris Gravy Recipe

Related Posts:

Central Grocery

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