Welcome, Jim Baugh, author of HOOKED and producer of Jim Baugh Outdoors TV!Jim Baugh has been producing national and regional television shows for close to 30 years. Programs include: Award winning Jim Baugh Outdoors TV (220 episodes), Ski East, Classic Fishing. Fishing Virginia and, RV Times. Jim also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Music from Virginia Commonwealth University. Jim writes, performs, and engineers all the soundtracks for his television programs. Jim Baugh Outdoors has broadcast on The Family Channel, The Outdoor Channel, The Sportsman Channel, Fox Sports, America One, and many broadcast affiliates throughout the Mid-Atlantic and South East.
I got this recipe???? It did not come easy – here is the story.
The Muffuletta sandwich is arguably one of the best sandwiches in
the world, if not the best. Also referred to as “The Muff”, it is
a food item that was invented at the Central Grocery in New Orleans in 1906 and
is of course known as the home of the Muffuletta. The interesting thing is as much as this sandwich is hailed around the world, it is hardly found anywhere outside of New Orleans. If you go to New Orleans, you will find different variations of this sandwich depending on where you go. On rare occasions while traveling I have found this sandwich at various places, would always try them, and was always disappointed.
The “Muff” is a lot like a lot of dishes that people think you can only go out and get at only one or two places on earth, and be great! However, the truth is you can make a
Muffuletta at home just as good, and actually better than you can get anywhere,
including New Orleans. This is not a difficult dish to make, however it does
require the knowledge of some artisanship in the baking area – the rest is
rather straight forward as you will see here. The biggest problem I have with the sandwich is I have a hard time finding Italian Hams at delis. We live on the
Chesapeake Bay, and the little Italian deli where you will find everything in
New Orleans, does not exist around here. So, as far as the meats \ filling,
some of mine are substitutions which are very similar to the original. I will
also show the original filling and what I used to substitute for it. Either
way, does not matter that much, the secret is in the Olive Salad and bread.
How did I get this recipe?? It did not happen overnight, it
happened over the span of about 20 years.
When we first got started producing the TV Show, my salesman and I went to New
Orleans to an outdoor fishing show called AFTMA, to try and find sponsors
for our program, then called, Fishing Virginia.. What we found was the
Muffuletta Sandwich! No sponsors, but good Eats! This thing called
“Muffuletta” was the best thing I ever had and I had it at the Central Grocery,
the real deal, where the thing was invented. I could not figure out what made
this thing so DARN good!!!
I was standing by the cash register and this old man, about 200
yrs old, had a big bowl of Olive Salad at the counter and he was stirring it. I
ask him “What is the secret to your awesome Muffuletta Sandwich??” He looked at me and said as he put a spoon of salad in his mouth, “It’s good on anything”.
So, they sold the salad there and I bought a couple of jars to take home.
After getting back home, I continued to order the Olive Salad for
years until one day I said, I am going to figure out how to make this. This was
before the days of the Internet, so I called my Mom over to help me reverse
engineer this Olive Salad. We did. We took the last of the Central Grocery jar
and went to work. We figured everything that was in it and then I went off to
the store to purchase all the ingredients. When I got back, we went to work on
We were close, very close, everything was there but the taste was
not quite there. It was good, but not an exact match to the original. So I had
the idea of just sniffing the jar of the Central Grocery Olive Salad, then one
by one, smelling the can of each ingredient that I had bought. When I got to
the green olive can, BINGO!!! I took the brine from the Green Olives, added it
to the salad, and there it was. The taste was identical, everything was there.
Mom and I had reversed engineered the Olive Salad successfully and ever since I
have made it every year during the holidays. From Thanksgiving threw Christmas,
Muffuletta’s can be found at Jim’s Place. When guest come by for a sandwich
they always say the same thing. WOW, best sandwich ever had. I had some Central
Grocery olive salad last night that a friend gave me who just got back from New
Orleans, Made a “Muff” for Ruthie, she had never had one. She said without a
doubt, the best Sandwich she has ever had or heard of. I agreed.
I am enjoying writing this recipe a lot, because I have a small
bowl of Olive Salad sitting beside me with a spoon in it. What fun!
Now here is the recipe, enjoy!
For years I have been going to stores asking them if they have
round Italian loafs that I can make a Muffuletta with, the answer has always been
NO!!Make no mistake about it, with this sandwich, the bread is a BIG
So, here is what you do, and it works fantastic and will really
make your sandwich.
For the Sourdough Italian Bread recipe, just follow my Baugh’s
Baguette recipe, Click Here to review it. This is a sourdough
recipe that uses a wild starter. I also use the King Arthur Flour starter as
well. The only difference is you are going to use two eight-inch cast iron skillets for your baking pan. Oil your cast iron skilletsor use an olive oil non-stick cooking spray. Put your dough in the skillet and let rise another 1 1\2 hour. Cast iron skillets are a GREAT way to bake bread. These skillets will give you the PERFECT round Italian loafs that you will want for this sandwich. **We used both toasted Sesame and Black Sesame seeds on top of loaf.
white flour KAF
1 cup whole wheat
3 cups KAF bread
I used my standard
Baugh’s Baguette recipe with only a 20 minute Autolyse and a fast rise of
around three hours. I did not have time for an overnight bulk ferment. This was
a six hour bread from start to finish. It did turn out very good, super tasty,
however I do prefer an overnight bulk ferment as long as time allows.
Green Olives, (no pitts)
Calamatta Olives -Pitted
Cauliflower, carrots, celery, Pepperoncini \ thinly chopped
Garlic cloves chopped,
Celery, thinly sliced
Crushed red pepper flakes
Green Onions, thinly sliced
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground pepper To Taste (salt may not be necessary)
Green Olive Brine 1\2 cup
Olive oil 1\2 cup
Mix all ingredients and take off the stems of
the pepperoncini. Try to leave some of the Pepperoncini whole and not diced up.
You also don’t want all of your olives smashed. This should be a chunky salad,
Filling, Meats and Cheese:
Here is the original
Here are my substitutions
based on what I can find-
Use what you like best and what you can find. Do have your meats shaved fresh and the cheese as well.
To Prepare: Cut your bread into halves and pick out the top half.
Next, put Motz Cheese on top of the top loaf.
Next, on the second half start layering your filling. Ham, Salammi, then provolone.
Bake in oven at 375 until the cheese is a little brown and
The Finale – Pile on the Olive Salad!
NOTE A) : I like to put some Anchovy paste on the bread before putting on the olive salad. Really adds a nice touch of flavor. I must credit “The Basement” in Richmond Virginia. Legendary sandwich place in the fan. The “Downstairs” was my fav sandwich there and it had anchovies on it. It was an Italian meat sandwich that was out of this world, my dad and I ate there for years. I like to put the Anchovy paste on the bread, however I have since read that some folks put it in the olive salad.
NOTE B): I have been
asked if there is a reason why I make this for Christmas because it is not
known as a holiday dish. The reason is simple. Many years ago when I ordered
the olive salad through the mail, it happened to be around the Thanksgiving
holiday. I smoke and deep fry Turkeys which is just wonderful meat, and I
thought, why not use Turkey instead of the Deli Hams, etc. I did and it was a
big hit. I actually like the meat filling much better with smoked sliced Turkey,
totally unreal flavor!!!! (less sodium as well) Once you get the bread and
olive salad down, stuff the filling with what ever you like. Just like the 200
year old man said eating the olive salad behind the cash register at the
Central Grocery, “It’s good on anything!” And- IT IS!!!!!!
**************This Sandwich, made with the
entire round loaf, can feed two VERY easy. Also great for parties, divi up in
eight for appetizers. Your company will be very glad they came to your party
ENJOY! And get HOOKED Soon!!Thanks, Jim, for this stellar recipe! Can’t wait to try it. Check out Jim’s Bar for more recipes! The Mountain Muse