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Pepper-Roasted Pork Muffaletta

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Pepper-Roasted Pork Muffaletta

More than one person has said that this muffaletta is "the best sandwich I've ever had." It is easy to make, hearty, and absolutely delicious--perfect for a school lunch.

Terri Pischoff Wuerthner
The muffaletta is a favorite of both Cajuns and their Creole city cousins. I always head to Central Grocery in New Orleans as soon as I get into town and purchase a muffaletta. (Well, sometimes I go across the street to Café du Monde first for coffee and a beignet...it's always a difficult decision where to begin my feasting in that wonderful City.) My Great-Uncle Adolphe put his own stamp on this sandwich, as he did on everything, and used pork from the farm instead of the traditional luncheon meats.

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • OLIVE SALAD:
  • 1 1/2 cups pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted black olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted red peppers, fresh or jarred
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ROASTED PORK:
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1 round loaf French bread (16 or 24 ounces)*
  • 1/2 cup top-quality mayonnaise
  • 1/2 pound provolone or mozzarella cheese, sliced

Preparation:

*The ingredients will have to be packed tighter into a 16-ounce loaf of French bread, so get a 24-ounce loaf if possible. However, some areas of the country don't seem to sell 24-ounce loafs, and the 16-ounce will work fine.

OLIVE SALAD:

Combine the ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour (may be made a day or two ahead and kept refrigerated). Tip: make olive salad and refrigerate while pork is roasting.

ROASTED PORK:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Combine the thyme and press them onto all surfaces of the meat.

Roast the pork in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat. When the meat thermometer registers 155ºF, remove the pork from the oven (it will continue to cook while resting). When cool, slice about 1/4 inch thick.

TO ASSEMBLE:

To assemble the muffaletta, cut the top third off the French bread and hollow out the bottom and sides as much as possible. Leave a solid shell so juices won't leak through.

Spread the mayonnaise on the bottom and sides of the bread, with a bit spread on the top. Place half the pork slices in the bottom, then half the cheese, then half the olive salad. Repeat layers. Replace the top and press tightly onto the filled loaf.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate, with a weight on top (such as a brick or heavy can), for at least 1 hour, and up to several hours. Cut into wedges to serve.

This sandwich actually improves with age! It is even better on the second or third day, but be sure to keep it refrigerated.

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