What really makes a po-boy a po-boy is the bread. If the fried shrimp or sloppy roast beef isn’t served on that soft, New Orleans-style French bread, it may be a sandwich, but it’s definitely not a po-boy. The same could be said for many different types of sandwiches, from a Reuben to a Sando, and it certainly holds true for the muffuletta. Yes, the combination of cured meats and olive salad certainly set this particular sandwich apart, but without that round, seeded Sicilian loaf, can you honestly call it a muffuletta?
Anyhow, being on Keto, we’re to avoid excess carbs (like those found in bread), so if one has a craving for a muffuletta, what does one do? They make a salad! Most of those fabulous flavors can still be had and you might not even miss the bread. Maybe . . . but I’m not making any promises.
A couple of notes: Unless you go to an artisanal deli where they cure all their meats in-house, or you cure the meat yourself, most of us laymen will be stuck getting meat at the grocery store which aren’t typically the best for you, no matter you way of eating. But, you’re not going to eat this meat fest everyday, right? Treating yourself to this flavor-filled salad once in a while just ain’t no big thang, if you feel me. If you are lucky enough to afford or make your own artisanal cured meats, then good on you! And, can I come over for lunch?
Second point I’d like to make is because I am fortunate enough to live in the city which is home to the muffuletta, I have locally-made, jarred olive salads (like Joe Gambino’s pictured below) to choose from. But, if you do not live in New Orleans, feel free to use the commonly found giardiniera (drained and chopped) at your grocery store, order it straight from Central Grocery or make your own.
Makes 4 entree-sized portions
1 large head of Romaine lettuce, approximately 10 oz., chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 16-oz. jar of olive salad, drained
1/2 C chopped pepperoncini
1/2 C chopped Kalamata olives
4 oz. salami, cubed or chopped
4 oz. sliced mortadella, chopped
4 oz. sliced soppressatta, chopped
4 oz. provolone, cubed or chopped
2-3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
Salt & Pepper
Throw all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Voila! You have a muffuletta-ish salad. Enjoy!