The Herbs You Need For The Best Muffuletta Sandwich Olive Spread

Well-known regional sandwiches include Philadelphia's cheese steak, Louisville, Kentucky's hot brown, and Chicago's Italian beef, but New Orleans has two sandwich classics to its name: the po-boy and the muffuletta. The latter of these two is essentially the Big Easy's take on an Italian sub since it involves many of the same types of cold cuts and cheeses. What sets it apart from something you might find at Subway, however, is a round roll and an olive salad. While many muffuletta recipes make use of prepared tapenade, developer Kristen Carli's take on the muffuletta sandwich includes directions for making a from-scratch olive salad flavored with oregano and thyme.

Carli says of her muffuletta that it's "a very easy sandwich to make." This extends to the herbs, since she uses the dried kind instead of fresh ones. If you do have fresh herbs on hand, you could certainly use those, too; although, since dried herbs are more potent, you will need to triple the amount the recipe calls for.

Additionally, Carli says that you can save a little time (and a little thyme, as well) by opting for a premade olive salad if you wish, but she insists you find one that includes oregano and thyme — if you want the sandwich to taste similar to hers. If you can't find one with both of these ingredients, you can always add a pinch of the missing seasonings to compensate.

Your herby olive spread can be used for more than muffulettas

If you follow Kristen Carli's recipe to a satisfyingly sandwichy conclusion, you'll be taking your tapenade, smearing it over bread, then piling on a mountain of cold cuts like salami and mortadella as well as sliced cheeses such as provolone. Put the top loaf on the sandwich and you'll have a rather elongated muffuletta, as Carli uses standard Italian bread instead of the harder-to-source round muffuletta loaf. The olive salad, however, can also be used on other types of sandwiches — it would work just as well with ham and Swiss or roast beef and cheddar, or you could even stir it into chicken, tuna, or egg salad to give them a flavor boost.

Speaking of salads, the tapenade could also be mixed with a vinaigrette and poured over leafy greens. Other ideas include spreading it over bread slices to make bruschetta or crostini or using it to top chicken or fish, either before or after baking. You can also just pour the stuff into a bowl and set it out with chips, crackers, or crudites to serve as an olive and herb dip that's both easy and elegant. The olive salad sans sandwich is vegan, too, so it makes a great alternative to dairy dips for those who prefer to keep to a plant-based diet.