There are so many version of the the Olive salad for the classic New Orleans sandwich a.k.a The Muffaletta.
When it comes to grabbing one of the best Muffalettas in NOLA, the only place to head for is the Central Grocery & Market on Decatur Street.
Which is why when the Weave Thousand Flavors Culinary Vacation heads to New Orleans this October, the plan is to grab sandwich and sit on the River walk watch the barges roll by on the Mississippi river right after we've spent 2 hours listening to Jazz on the steamboat! Yippee!
Well, what is life if you can't take a moment to smell the roses and watch the barges!
I claim no achievement that I have managed to replicate the Central Grocery olive salad but this one is a bloody good second!
You do however need to let the good stuff marinate for a couple of days, a week would be better and of course head to a nice Italian market or high end delicatessen for your ingredients.I would also stay away from bottled roasted red peppers but rather buy them from the delicatessen or roast them yourself.
Now more on the recipe, ever since I tasted Giardiniera Chicago style, loaded with hot peppers I've never been able to settle on the weak stuff available in most supermarkets. Giardeniera is basically Italian style pickled veggies and mainly consists of cauliflower, carrots, peppers and celery.
It also happens to be one of the key ingredients in our Olive salad. So I like to reach for the Hot Peppers from Potbelly works. I buy them in a jar for about 6 bucks and that gives me about 2 cups of the good stuff. Now theirs is loaded with peppers as the name suggests, have great crunch and flavor but is not loaded with cauliflower.
So by all means, if you want more cauli in yours I'd add some Giardiniera from your local store to the hot peppers. I do not recommend however that you omit the Hot Peppers from Potbelly altogether...but that's just me.
Once you've got your Giardiniera all situated, the next step is to hand crush pitted green and Kalamata olives, add sliced roasted red peppers, thinly sliced celery, crushed red pepper, red wine vinegar, chopped parsley and mix it all up along with the Giardiniera. At the very end, a large gulp of EVOO gets added and the whole thing emptied into dishwasher sterilized and dried mason jars. Leave it alone for a week and them use liberally on Muffalettas and all other sandwiches your heart desires.
Trust me, its so good, you'll be loading this on your tuna sandwiches and every in between.