Tastes of the Tailgate: Muffuletta for a Crowd

Football season is upon us and we all know what that means…it’s time to tailgate. For its simplicity, taste and the ability to last for the entire pregame, the muffuletta is one of my tailgate staples. The story behind this recipe, as told in Margaritaville: The Cookbook, says that during one of Jimmy’s visits to the New Orleans Margaritaville Café, he suggested a walk up the street to Central Grocery, home of the muffaletta, to pick up some of the famous sandwiches for the Café’s staff.  There was a long line to purchase the room temperature, deli paper-wrapped sandwiches that were stacked tall behind the counter, but they was well worth the wait. The restaurant team was hooked at first bite and immediately set out to replicate this New Orleans standard.  It became a mainstay on the menu for many years and now, can be a mainstay for your tailgate adventures. 

Tailgate Muffuletta for a Crowd

Serves 6-8

  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 jarred roasted red bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ cup mixed, pitted olives, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 large loaf seeded Italian bread (about 1 ½ pounds), round if you can find it, split
  • ¼ pound thinly sliced salami
  • ¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto
  • ¼ pound thinly sliced mortadella
  • ¼ pound thinly sliced provolone cheese
  • ½ pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Place the celery, onion, garlic, roasted red bell pepper, olives, capers, vinegar, olive oil, and oregano in a medium bowl and stir well to combine. 

Evenly divide the olive salad between the cut sides of the bread.  Layer on the salami, prosciutto, mortadella, provolone, and mozzarella.  Close the sandwich and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.  Place a sheet pan on top of the sandwich and place something heavy (like a cast iron skillet or a few cans of tomatoes) on top of the sheet pan and let the sandwich sit for at least 1 hour.  Slice the sandwich into individual portions and serve.