I wish I could tell you that careful planning went into presenting this New Orleans-inspired breakfast recipe to you the week of Mardi Gras, but in reality it was just coincidence. This is actually something I’ve been thinking about making for some time now. I’ve had “muffaletta breakfast casserole” written in the back of my little notebook of ideas for months, and I just never went so far as to actually bake it until this week. (I’ve learned that once things are written in my official planning spreadsheet, they actually do happen!)
In the handful of trips I’ve taken to New Orleans, I’ve never quite managed to fall in love with the beignet. BUT… Red beans and rice? Jambalaya? Muffaletta sandwiches? Wow. So good. In case you’re not familiar with the concept of a muffaletta, the basics of it are a few types of meat, some cheese, and an olive tapenade all packed into an insanely delicious loaf of bread.
The meats included in a muffaletta are typically some variant of the combination of ham, salami, mortadella, soppressata, and cappicola. I don’t know about you, but I don’t typically walk into Kroger with that list. I’m trying to keep things simple for you, so for this recipe you’ll want to grab ham and salami. If you have access to some of the other meats and would like to try them out, go for it! Use whatever combination you’d like, and just make sure it adds up to about half a pound total. For cheese, again, the actual cheeses in a muffaletta could vary slightly depending on who’s making it, but we’ll go with provolone. I let the deli counter do most of the work for me, and I simply ask them for a quarter pound each of sliced ham, sliced salami, and sliced provolone.
Another slightly unfamiliar component of the muffaletta is the olive tapenade, or olive salad. I can make this really simple for you in one of two ways. (1) Pick up pimiento-stuffed green olives and pitted black olives. Measure 1/3 cup of each (without the juice), and chop them up in a food processor until they look like the photo below. (2) Grab a jar of olive tapenade (try looking for it near the pesto) and measure about 2/3 cup of that!
Happy baking, y’all! Also, if you ever get a chance to try an actual muffaletta sandwich, I totally recommend it!
If you try Muffaletta Breakfast Casserole at home, I’d love to hear what you think! Share pictures with me on social media by tagging @thesavvyplate on Instagram or by mentioning my page The Savvy Plate Blog on Facebook!
Muffaletta Breakfast Casserole
This breakfast casserole is inspired by the vibrant flavors and ingredients of a classic New Orleans sandwich.
- 1/3 cup whole black olives* drained of liquid
- 1/3 cup whole pimiento-stuffed green olives* drained of liquid
- 1/4 lb deli ham**
- 1/4 lb deli salami**
- 1/4 lb sliced provolone cheese**
- 8 eggs
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400, and then start by making the olive tapenade. Add both types of olives to the food processor and pulse. We want to chop them up into small pieces, but we don't want to puree them.
Roughly cut sliced deli ham, salami, and cheese into 1-inch squares.
Add eggs, milk, pepper, and olive tapenade to a mixing bowl, and whisk to combine. Resist the urge to add salt; there will be plenty of salt from the salami and olives.
Grease a 1.5 to 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle about half the ham and salami into a loose layer at the bottom of the dish. Cover with about half the egg mixture. Top with cheese, followed by the remaining ham and salami. Pour remaining egg mixture on top of everything else. We want the egg to be able to fill the space surrounding the meat and cheese, but we don't want any of the cheese at the very bottom of the dish. It will just stick.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the egg is set in the middle. If the casserole starts to brown in the last few minutes of baking, but the middle hasn't set yet, cover it with aluminum foil. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting, then serve hot.
*If you don't own a food processor or would simply prefer to buy a jar of olive tapenade rather than making it yourself, use about 2/3 cup.
**For the ham, salami, and provolone, the cheapest way to purchase it in this quantity without having to deal with leftovers is to simply ask for a quarter pound of each at your grocery store deli counter.