Let’s just start this off by saying Italian nanas are not considered “hot” and that is just something no one ever says about Italian grandmothers. But then there is always an exception. I think. I hope I don’t get in trouble over this story.
I was on “The Facebook,” as my mama calls it, last month and found an old friend of mine, Kathy Gialde. On her timeline was a photo of some delicious looking olive salad and I “liked” it. As I read through some of her posts, I found out she also was putting the olive salad in jars and preparing it for friends and family.
I called Kathy up and asked about her olive salad and why so many people were liking her photos and talking about it around Kansas City. She said “I’m going to send you over a couple of quarts and then you can decide for yourself and figure out why so many people are talking about it and loving it.”
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The following Saturday evening Kathy dropped off a couple of quarts of the olive salad but I was so busy I could not even begin to think about eating until after work.
I finished cooking about 11 p.m. and immediately took my first bite. OMG, so cold and so delicious. Sweet yet savory. Full of green and black olives, dried herbs, onion, carrots, whole cloves of garlic and chopped celery. It was reminiscent of cracked olive salad down in New Orleans.
The following day I called Kathy to tell her how much I enjoyed the salad and said I could not stop eating it all night long.
Kathy told me she uses balsamic vinegar but that was the only secret she would let me in on. Believe me, it takes a lot to impress this chef but this salad was really something.
The following day my family was coming over for lunch and I had some crusty bread, capicola, Italian salami and mortadella in my refrigerator and so I made the famous New Orleans Muffaletto sandwich with the olive salad.
Talk about delicious! I also used some of the vinaigrette and put it right on the bread. I’m telling you Cathy’s vinaigrette is so good you may even want to do a couple of shots on the side with your Muffaletto.
The next time you are on Facebook, becine a friend of Kathy, a.k.a. “Hot Nana,” and ask her about her olive salad. She may just sell you a few quarts if you are nice.
I thought this is the perfect sandwich for Mardi Gras this week so here is my easy recipe for a Muffaletto, the New Orleans famous sandwich, to celebrate.
Laissez le bon ton roulet! Let the good times roll.
New Orleans Muffaletto
1 loaf crusty Italian seeded bread
1 pound chopped Hot Nana’s Italian Olive Salad
4 ounces capicola
4 ounces Genoa salami
4 ounces mortadella
4 ounces provolone
Slice bread in half. On bottom half of bread add chopped olive salad along with some of the vinaigrette. Layer the sandwich with slices of capicola, salami, mortadella and provolone. Put more chopped olive salad on the other half of the bread and top the sandwich. Slice and serve.
Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s runs his family’s 62-year-old restaurant with his brother. Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He is host to many famous chefs on his weekly radio show “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM. He also sells dressings and sauces.