Most anyone who has been to New Orleans and has even a passing interest in food has gone to Central Grocery (which apparently has the most awesome website ever...seriously, click on that link) or one of the many places that serve the glorious beast of a sandwich known as the Muffuletta.
For the uninitiated (please, hang your head in shame at this point), the Muffuletta is a big, round sandwich of cold cuts (ham, mortadella, salami, provolone, mozzarella, did I miss one?), with an oil-based olive salad as dressing. Served on bread that is too thick and, to my mind, not terribly good. Although it gets better as the oil soaks into it.
That olive salad is really the only truly remarkable component of the sandwich. Without it, you'd have a pretty boring, yet complicated sandwich. The olive salad elevates and unifies the whole mess.
Thankfully you can buy olive salad in jars and elevate your own stuff, right at home. That's what I did earlier today. I elevated my own stuff. Also, I made this sandwich.
I was putting together a somewhat pedestrian ham and cheese sandwich, but rather than reach for one of the 15 mustards in the fridge, I had a beautiful but rare flash of genius and went for the olive salad.
The brand of olive salad that I have is Marconi, out of Chicago. I know that Westwood Prime Meats carries it. I'm sure a few others do as well. It's labeled as "Hot Muffaletta Mix." Lots of olives and hot peppers and celery and carrots all chopped up into a fine crunchy spicy suspension.
Marconi also makes a serviceable Giardiniera for all of your Chicago Beef needs. So, get to it.