Olive Salad Gift Jars for Muffuletta Sandwiches

I used to love eating Muffuletta sandwiches at the restaurant I worked at in Alabama. Most people here in Minnesota have never heard of them. But I think that if you are an adventurous enough eater and love olives, meats and cheese, you might just fall in love with this sandwich. Minnesotan’s might even say Uff-da Muff-da!

In order to have a Muffuletta, you need to have olive salad. I decided to introduce people I know to the lovely Muffuletta by canning the olive salad for them and then attaching the recipe for the sandwich. I will be giving them as gifts this holiday.

I do not recommend eating this particular olive salad recipe on its own. It has a lot of vinegar added due to the canning process and isn’t that great as a stand-alone dish. Paired with the thick bread, meats and cheese however, the acidity is cut down and not quite as noticeable.

Here is the recipe for canning the olive salad. It comes from Put ’em Up!


Olive Salad
From: Put ‘em up! By Sherri Brooks Vinton
Makes 5 pints
4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 small head cauliflower leaves removed, cored, and cut into ½ -inch florets (about 6 cups)
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup pitted sliced black olives
1 cup pitted sliced green olives
1 cup chopped onion
Prepare
  1. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, mustard seed, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a large pot, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add cauliflower, carrots, red bell pepper, olives, and onions, and return to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until veggies just begin to turn tender, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Pour into jars, covering the solids by ¼ inch with liquid.  Leave ¼ inch of headspace between liquid and the lid.
  4. Use water bath method.  Wipe rims of clean, center lids on jars and screw on jar bands.  Process in bath for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat, remove canner lid and let rest in the water for 5 minutes.  Remove jars and set a side for 24 hours.  Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

In order to make the Muffulettas. . .

Take a big loaf of french bread and slice it horizontally. Drizzle olive oil on the sliced loaves and toast in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes or so just to toast the bread. Layer the bread with ham, prosciutto, hard salami and provolone cheese on one slice and the olive salad and provolone cheese (cheese on top to keep the salad tucked in) on the other slice. Toast in oven until cheese is melted and bubbly. Reassemble and enjoy!

In Alabama, we would assemble the ingredients all together without toasting, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for 2 hours or more to allow the flavors to meld together. We then toasted them in the oven. We also used a round loaf bread specific to Muffulettas and an olive salad that had way more olives and included capers but this recipe gets the job done. The Muffuletta is mostly popular in New Orleans. I haven’t been there to eat the Muffulettas there so I’m not sure how it compares to this recipe or the one we made in Alabama but it is definitely on my list of top 5 things to do- to visit New Orleans and eat a Muffuletta!