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Before I start today, I just wanted to mention that today is the one year birthday of The Food in my Beard! Thanks everyone for showing so much support! I really wanted to have the rumored new layout and blog software up today, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen yet. The design team and I are working 'round the clock to get it together for you guys and I really think people are going to be happy with it. I myself am VERY excited! I am going to make a bold claim that you will be seeing that one week from Monday. Now on with the post!

I thought a little more about the muffulettas last night and I realized how simple this sandwich is. To people who have never had one, it won't seem like that big of a deal. The key to the muffuletta is making it as traditional and perfect as possible. It seems like just some Italian meats and cheeses, olive salad, and big round Italian bread, but when these 3 things come together in perfect harmony it becomes something greater. This is why we took such effort making the bread and olive salad. You can't get anything in Bermuda that comes close to the proper bread, and without this bread, it simply is not a muffuletta. Anyway, less talkie, more fetchie.

We sampled some olives to see what should go into the olive salad. The final answer: all of them!

This is the "control group" if you will. New Orleans residents will recognize this as the holy grail of muffulettas. The olive salad from Central Grocery the originator of the muffuletta. You can even see this bottle on the muffuletta wiki.

This is the giardiniera from yesterday's post. It has sat in the fridge for 2 days. We strained out the vinegar, but didn't rinse them or anything. There should still be a bit of a vinegar bite in the final olive salad.

Just chop and add everything. I really can't give you measurements. Just keep tasting it and trying to make it look like the pictures. We just kept throwing stuff in the bowl. With all these awesome ingredients, how can it turn out bad???

Chop 'n drop, chop 'n drop, chop 'n drop.

Here come about 7 gratuitous olive salad shots... Don't worry Amy, you'll get your wallpapers.

There are also 2 roasted red peppers in there.

Ok enough! This whole time everyone was yelling to me to stop taking pictures and don't drop that bowl!

More olive oil, it should be very oily.

A muffuletta consists of: Salami, Capicola, Mortadella, Ham, Emmentaler, and Provolone.

It's our olive salad, Vs. the central grocery kind.

This sandwich was a group effort, with Donna the New Orleanian (Naw-Land-er?) watching over everything and giving her seal of approval.

The Central Grocery olive salad.

Which one do YOU want to eat?

A little of the oil from the olive salad on the bottom bread.

The secret to any sandwich! Wrap it really tight and let it sit for 10 minutes at least!


Party favors of leftover olive salad. I would only trust these for 2 weeks to maybe a month because of the whole garlic in oil thing.

Lookin' good!

Some people eat muffulettas hot, so we decided to heat up half of both the sandwiches. This way everyone could try one hot and one cold, one homemade olive salad and one from central grocery.

That's a lotta muffulettas!

Sleeepy time. Thanks Donna! Have fun traveling around the world!

The Loaf and Giardiniera are here.

The olive salad is:
Black olives
Green Olives
Kalamata olives
Roasted Red Peppers
Lots of olive oil

The sandwich is
olive salad

So which tasted best? I liked the cold version with our homemade olive salad. I loved the crunch and pop of the flavors and textures. The veggies still had some life to them and you could feel it when you ate it. Don't get me wrong, I liked ALL of the varieties, that's just the one I preferred. Mandi, Donna, Amy, John, what did you guys think???


I have to admit that eating Central Grocery muffs for years now, I was skeptical that we could create a comparable, much less superior, olive salad. I am so happy we had this throwdown and happy to admit that I was proven wrong. I don't typcially care for hot muffs, but I enjoyed it with the crunch of the homemade olive salad. I still love you Central Grocery, but I really enjoyed eating our homemade version. I still have yet to try the jar in my frige though to see how the flavors have melded over time.

The only complaint that I have is that the bread was not quite right. It was too soft. You shouldn't be able to make impressions of your fingers in it - the outside should be much more firm. Think of that thick, crusty, rustic Italian loaf. But we tried and at least the bread was from scratch. I can't believe how much I am craving a muffuletta right now. Those pictures are awesome!

What is Emmentaler? I've never heard of this before.. I still haven't tried Mortedella... Maybe next week.. There's a place in Marlboro that makes an Italian sandwhich Mandi's way...

Happy Birthday TFIMB.
Keep up the great work!

Hey it's my birthday too! Happy B day TFIMB!

Happy birthday : )
I haven't had breakfast yet & now im dreaming up some sourdough bread & chili olives. Come to think of it i have some really hot salami in the fridge too! There is nothing like this that i know of in Australia but it sure does look very 'American' (tall huge sandwich) & delicious.

Kare Kare will be coming after the summer Dan. At the moment we are having 113 degree days! I haven't cooked in a while it's just too hot! I can't wait for summer to be over.

Happy Birthday TFIMB keep up the good work.
P.S. We ate another bag of tortellinis but no grape!!

happy bday to my fav blog!

TFIMB, you and Mandi are awesome. Congrats on a year of incredible food blogging. I got my son hooked on your blog. The giardiniera you made would be my choice. I can't wait to make some ricotta pancakes and a made from scratch muffuletta. Keep up the good work. I look forward everyday checking what wonderful things you and Mandi have created this time.

i must say that i preferred the homemade olive salad! although they were both very good, the one we made had a larger variety of yummy veggies. such a great crunch and an explosion of vinegary wonderfulness! yum! i also preferred hot to cold which was unexpected as i dont usually like hot hoagies as much as cold... you would think it would be along the same lines... but either way, good fun and yummy foods! glad we finally got to do this and goodluck donna in your future adventures!!!

Happy Birthday TFIMB!!

I'm a frequent lurker, but not a frequent commenter...I'll try to fix that. Those muffaletta sandwiches look great!! My BF just read through the Beastie Boys Food Quiz thing...and he laughed the whole way! Thanks for good laughs and good food!!

Happy B'day, TFIMB, and thanks for a fabulous muffuletta day! So glad I finally got to make an appearance on TFIMB before I left Bermuda.

I only brag about two things in regards to jambalaya and my status as Olive Salad connoisseur -- I have tasted 8 -- actually, now NINE different olive salads and Central Grocery really is the best. HOWEVER, I LOVED the fresh olive salad you made; the flavors really popped and rocked on my tongue. If I have any critique was that it needed a little more spice pepper, garlic, something like that. I'm one of the people that likes a hot muff, however I loved it just as much when Amy and I went STRAIGHT to Central Grocery from the airport in 2007 and had a fresh-made muff. Omigawd, I cannot get enough of those sandwiches! I think I preferred the Central Grocery muff warmed and the homemade muff with homemade olive salad unheated.

John and I later had the homemade Olive Salad on a muffuletta pizza and it was scrumptious. Did any of you try it just as a salad with the deli meats chopped small? I bet that would be delish. John and I went through it all before we tried that. He's relegated to what's left in his Central Grocery jar. Quel dommage!

The original muffuletta from Central Grocery uses Danish Ham and Genoa Salami (and the other stuff, of course). I personally like the extra kick that pepper salami gives, so I threw that in for good measure, in addition to the Genoa Salami. It was yummy. I also like BOTH provolone and swiss cheese...I like the way the 'pungent' flavor of the swiss cheese contrasts with the sweetness of the bread and Danish (boiled) ham. This weekend my family is gathering and having a New Orleans/Mardi Gras theme; Mom and I are in charge of getting the deli meats. I hope I can find it all as this place (Danville, Virginia) is on the verge of being rural!

I cracked up at the photo with the 50% oil seepage -- gorgeous! And that photo just makes me want to bite right into it!

Now, when you do jambalaya, as you know I have bequeathed my recipe to Amy; it is in good hands. Unless you can wait 'til June when I'm visiting! Try jambalaya with deer meat sausage if you can get it (put that kind of sausage in later in the process as it's low in fat and thus cooks and dries out faster). And remember jambalaya doesn't just have to be ham and sausage, the way I make it. It can be chicken and sausage, or shrimp and sausage, or a combo of chicken, ham, shrimp, and see the pattern, right? There has to be sausage. I would NOT use chourizo sausage...I tried it once and didn't care for the resulting flavor. I like chourizo, just not in jambalaya.

Anyway, I'm freezing my arse off and missing all of you so much. And getting hungry for another muff right now! Will have to wait 'til tomorrow evening with the rest of my family who have transplanted themselves from New Orleans to North Carolina (not to worry, they moved before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005).

I live in New Orleans (Nawlins) And I've been eating muffs for about 50 years. This looks like the real deal. I was looking for a link to send a friend out of town and this one looked the best. I will be checking back. Thanks.

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