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Recipe for Muffoletta Sandwich

Original muffoletta sandwich

LOS ANGELES, California, USA The original muffoletta sandwich recipe was developed in 1906 in New Orleans.  The sandwich requires only seven ingredients.  However, the proportion of these ingredients is very important.

The original sandwich was constructed so that the bread retains all the fillings for several hours without leaking. 

Recall the history:  the Central Grocery made the sandwiches very early in the morning.  The Sicilian farmers in New Orleans purchased the sandwiches to eat at mid-day.  Because the muffoletta bread is dense, the bread absorbed the olive oil and did not leak.  In addition, because the sandwich was not eaten for several hours, the many flavors of the salad, meats and cheeses melded together and grew complex.

As for the salad, hundreds of recipes for the muffoletta sandwich can be found on the Internet.  However, a review of many of the recipes shows that few of them are authentic.  Many include non-traditional ingredients, like lettuce, tomatoes and mayonaisse.  The key to the muffoletta sandwich is simplicity of ingredients, whichi produce a complexity of textures and flavors.

This section includes the original recipe for the muffoletta sandwich.


The muffoletta sandwich requires only the following seven ingredients:  bread, salad, mortadella (the Italian sausage), cappicola (the Italian ham), salami (the hard Genoa salami), provolone (the Italian hard cheese) and emmantaler (the hard Swiss cheese).  The amounts of the salad, meat and cheese depends on the size of the bread.


The original muffoletta sandwich was developed for farmers, whose manual work required a large sandwich with a substantial amount of ingredients.  A man would eat an entire loaf of muffoletta bread, with a 10" diameter.  If the layers of salad, meat and cheese is 1/2" thick, then amount of bread, salad, meat and cheese totals more than 39 cu.in. of food.

Today, appetites are not as large for most people, simply because most people do not perform such hard manual labor.  A 39 cu.in. muffoletta sandwich that, 100 years ago, would have fed only a single farmer will today feed 4 or more sedentary adults.

As a result, many bakers today reduce the size of the muffoletta loaf from a 10" diameter to a 7" diameter.  This results in a sandwich which is only half as large as the 10" original.  When filled with the same 1/2" thick layer of salad, meat and cheese, the sandwich contains only half the amount:  about 19 cu.in. of filling.

Those who intend to make a muffoletta sandwich must consider the proportions among the bread and the other ingredients. 

Original proportions

On the original 10" loaf of muffoletta bread, the ingredients are as follows:

  • 10" loaf of muffoletta bread
  • 1 cup olive salad
  • 1/4 lb Italian mortadella
  • 1/4 lb Italian cappicola
  • 1/4 lb Genoa salami
  • 1/4 lb Italian provolone
  • 1/4 lb Swiss emmantaler

Modern proportions

Because the original 10" muffoletta sandwich is too large for today's average person, many bakers prove a 7" muffoletta.  For a 7" loaf of muffoletta bread, the ingredients are as follows:

  • 7" loaf of muffoletta bread
  • 1/2 cup olive salad
  • 1/8 lb Italian mortadella
  • 1/8 lb Italian cappicola
  • 1/8 lb Genoa salami
  • 1/8 lb Italian provolone
  • 1/8 lb Swiss emmantaler

The taste of provolone is much stronger than emmantaler, so many will use slightly less provolone and slightly more emmantaler.





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