Meravigliosa di Mare is our special rendition of the traditional Italian muffoletta sandwich.
Tender muffoletta buns are filled with a tartare of prized red shrimp from the Mediterranean sea, which blends perfectly with creamy stracciatella cheese: a truly irresistible combination.
Seen at numerous street food vendors and bakeries in Sicily, the muffoletta is an ancient bread with origins dating back hundreds of years, long even before the Roman empire.
The muffoletta (or muffuletta, moffoletta, muffoletto, muffulietta, depending on the dialect) derives its name from Sicilian dialect that means ‘soft and spongy bread’.
It is a simple bread that usually involves just four ingredients in the making – flour, water, yeast and salt – and is consumed sandwich-style, stuffed with local hams, cheeses and vegetables.
In some areas of Sicily, tradition calls for the muffoletta to be eaten on the morning of the Festa dei Morti that is held early-November, filled with marinated anchovies, oil, oregano and primosale cheese.
Makes 2 muffolettas (quantities can be adjusted to taste)
Muffoletta is eaten sandwich-style with various fillings ranging from hams, raw seafood, cooked or fresh vegetables and cheeses.
The recipe calls for the traditional muffoletta bread, but if you can’t find this at your local bakery, try the recipe with your favourite soft white bun with the filling as recommended – just try to get the best quality ingredients that you can lay your hands on: fresh shrimps, melt-in-your-mouth stracciatella, salty-yet-sweet sundried tomatoes and a touch of wasabi mayonnaise. It’s a lip smacking combination you will go back to again and again.
First, prepare the wasabi mayonnaise: in a small bowl, mix the wasabi powder and water to form a paste. Let sit for a minute, then add the mayonnaise and stir well.
Prepare the red shrimp tartare: make sure to get the freshest shrimp possible to eat rare. Clean, peel and devein the shrimp. Chop into chunks. Place in a bowl, and add the salt, lemon juice and olive oil. Combine well.
Construct your muffoletta: slice the buns horizontally then spread half of the wasabi mayonnaise on the bottom half, followed by a layer of baby spinach, half the stracciatella cheese, sundried tomatoes and then top with half the shrimp tartare.
Cover the bun.
Repeat for the other muffoletta.
The muffoletta owes its worldwide fame to Salvatore Lupo: a Sicilian immigrant who landed in New Orleans and soon after, in 1906, opened a small Italian foods store named Central Grocery Store. Here he started selling his own version of the stuffed muffoletta to the Americans (also called ‘muffuletta’).
The muffoletta sandwich is one of the most celebrated dishes in New Orleans today, where they are often filled with cold cut meats, cheese, and olive salad, but many other variations in ingredients are also commonplace.