Nestled in the heart of the historic French Quarter is Napoleon House, a New Orleans institution that has long been a favorite for hot muffulettas and ice cold Pimm’s Cups. Joseph “Uncle Joe” Impastato opened a Sicilian grocery at the site in 1914, where he sold sandwiches to dock workers. Along the way, the grocery morphed into a tavern and eventually a restaurant.
In 2015, local restaurateur Ralph Brennan purchased the restaurant, which continues to delight diners with its classic New Orleans cuisine and welcoming ambience in a nearly 200-year-old building. The muffuletta definitely remains a mainstay of the menu.
“Certainly, two of the most critical differences are that we use pastrami in lieu of the traditional mortadella, and also that we serve the muffuletta hot,” says Executive Chef Chris Montero. “Those are the real signatures of the Napoleon House muffuletta.”
Chris honors the Impastato family legacy by going back to the original methods of making the restaurant’s classic recipes. That includes making the bread fresh daily, hand mixing the olive salad in Uncle Joe’s bowl, and toasting the bread in a toaster oven, where the edges of the cold cuts crisp and the cheese melts to perfection.
“We want to do things as authentically and as originally as possible since it’s such an iconic restaurant,” Chris says.
- 1 (9-inch-round) seeded muffuletta bun or Italian seeded bread, halved
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 slices ham
- 5 slices Genoa salami
- 2 slices pastrami
- 3 slices provolone cheese
- 3 slices Swiss cheese
- ⅔ cup Napoleon House Olive Salad (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Brush bottom and top half of bun lightly with oil. Layer ham, salami, pastrami, and cheeses on bottom half of bun. Top with Napoleon House Olive Salad, and cover with top half of bun. Wrap in foil.
- Bake until thoroughly heated, about 20 minutes. Unwrap, and cut in half or quarters.
- 1 cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish queen olives, chopped
- ½ cup canned chickpeas, drained and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup pickled vegetables,* drained and coarsely chopped
- ⅓ cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup cocktail onions, drained and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large bowl, combine olives, chickpeas, pickled vegetables, artichoke hearts, onions, bell pepper, capers, and garlic. Add oil, vinegar, oregano, and pepper, stirring to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.