Catfish Muffeletta Recipe with Italian Bread, Olives, and Provolone

Catfish Muffeletta

Catfish Muffeletta Recipe with Italian Bread, Olives, and Provolone
Region / culture: Italy | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4


Catfish Muffeletta
Catfish Muffeletta

Catfish Muffeletta is a delicious and unique twist on the classic New Orleans sandwich. This recipe combines crispy fried catfish fillets with tangy giardeniara, ripe olives, and fresh parsley, all sandwiched between two halves of a round loaf of Italian bread. It's a perfect dish for a picnic or a casual lunch with friends.


The Muffeletta sandwich originated in New Orleans in the early 20th century. It was created by Italian immigrants who wanted a hearty and flavorful sandwich that could be easily eaten on the go. The traditional Muffeletta is made with layers of cured meats, cheese, and olive salad on a round loaf of bread. This Catfish Muffeletta recipe puts a seafood twist on the classic sandwich, adding a unique and delicious flavor profile.


How to prepare

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Season catfish fillets with salt and pepper.
  3. Fry the fillets in the hot oil, in batches if necessary, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until they easily flake when tested with a fork.
  4. Place the fillets on a plate to cool and drizzle them with lemon juice.
  5. Drain the giardeniara and place it in a small bowl.
  6. Add parsley, garlic, and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and mix until combined.
  7. Slice the bread in half horizontally and remove most of the soft white part from the middle.
  8. Spread half of the giardeniara mixture in the hollow of the bottom piece of bread.
  9. Arrange the fillets in a single layer over the vegetables.
  10. Top with layers of tomato slices, arugula leaves, and provolone slices (if using), and the remaining giardeniara mixture.
  11. Place the other half of the bread on top, pressing firmly into place.
  12. Using a serrated knife, cut the sandwich into wedges and serve.
  13. The wedges can be individually wrapped and served at a picnic.


  • For a lighter version, you can grill the catfish fillets instead of frying them.
  • You can also customize the sandwich by adding different types of cheese, such as mozzarella or cheddar.
  • If you prefer a spicier kick, you can add some hot sauce or jalapenos to the giardeniara mixture.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to season the catfish fillets well with salt and pepper before frying them. This will help to enhance the flavor of the fish.

- Be careful not to overcook the catfish fillets, as they can become tough and dry. Fry them for just 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until they easily flake with a fork.

- Press the sandwich firmly together after assembling it to help the flavors meld together and prevent it from falling apart when sliced.

Serving Suggestions

Catfish Muffeletta is best served fresh, either as a main dish for lunch or dinner. It can be paired with a side salad or some crispy potato chips for a complete meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key cooking technique for this recipe is frying the catfish fillets until they are crispy and golden brown. Make sure to fry them in batches and not overcrowd the skillet to ensure even cooking.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you can't find catfish fillets, you can use another type of white fish, such as tilapia or cod. You can also substitute the giardeniara with a store-bought olive salad mix.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the giardeniara mixture and fry the catfish fillets ahead of time. Assemble the sandwich just before serving to prevent the bread from getting soggy.

Presentation Ideas

To make the Catfish Muffeletta more visually appealing, you can garnish it with some fresh parsley or a sprinkle of paprika. Serve it on a wooden cutting board or a platter for a rustic presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Catfish Muffeletta pairs well with a crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. You can also serve it with a cold beer or a refreshing iced tea.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Catfish Muffeletta is best enjoyed fresh, but any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, place the sandwich in a toaster oven or a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Catfish Muffeletta contains approximately 400 calories.


Each serving of Catfish Muffeletta contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of Catfish Muffeletta contains approximately 20 grams of fat.


Each serving of Catfish Muffeletta contains approximately 25 grams of protein.

Vitamins and minerals

Catfish is a good source of vitamins B12 and D, as well as minerals like selenium and phosphorus. The giardeniara and olives in this recipe also provide a boost of vitamin C and antioxidants.


This recipe contains fish, wheat, and dairy (if using cheese), which may be allergens for some individuals.


Catfish Muffeletta is a balanced meal that provides a good mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It also offers a variety of vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious and satisfying dish.


Catfish Muffeletta is a flavorful and satisfying sandwich that combines crispy fried catfish fillets with tangy giardeniara and fresh parsley. It's a perfect dish for a picnic or a casual lunch with friends, offering a good mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Customize the sandwich with your favorite ingredients and enjoy this delicious twist on the classic New Orleans Muffeletta.

How did I get this recipe?

I can still picture the first time I came across this recipe for Catfish Muffeletta. It was a warm summer day in New Orleans, and I was walking through the bustling French Quarter, taking in all the sights and sounds of the city. As I passed by a small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant, the delicious aroma of Cajun spices and seafood wafted out onto the street, drawing me in like a moth to a flame.

I stepped inside and was greeted by the friendly owner, a jovial man with a thick Cajun accent. He welcomed me with a warm smile and a hearty handshake, and I immediately felt at home in his cozy little eatery. The walls were adorned with colorful Mardi Gras masks and jazz posters, and the sound of zydeco music filled the air.

I perused the menu, which was filled with all sorts of delicious Southern specialties, from gumbo to jambalaya to shrimp po'boys. But one item in particular caught my eye - the Catfish Muffeletta. I had never heard of such a dish before, but the owner assured me it was a local favorite and that I simply had to try it.

He brought out a piping hot plate of the Catfish Muffeletta, and I was immediately smitten. The dish consisted of crispy fried catfish fillets, tangy remoulade sauce, and a generous helping of olive salad, all sandwiched between two slices of crusty French bread. The combination of flavors and textures was simply divine, and I savored every bite.

I asked the owner for the recipe, but he just chuckled and said it was a closely guarded secret, passed down through generations of his family. Undeterred, I begged and pleaded until he finally relented and agreed to share the recipe with me, on the condition that I promise to keep it to myself and only make it for special occasions.

I eagerly jotted down the ingredients and instructions, my hand shaking with excitement. The owner watched me with a twinkle in his eye, as if he knew that this recipe would become one of my most cherished possessions.

When I returned home to my own kitchen, I wasted no time in recreating the Catfish Muffeletta. I followed the recipe to the letter, carefully breading and frying the catfish fillets, mixing up the remoulade sauce, and marinating the olive salad in a tangy vinaigrette.

As the dish came together, the familiar scents of Cajun spices and seafood filled my kitchen, transporting me back to that cozy little restaurant in the French Quarter. When I took my first bite of the finished Catfish Muffeletta, I closed my eyes and savored the explosion of flavors on my tongue.

From that day on, the Catfish Muffeletta became a staple in my culinary repertoire. I would make it for family gatherings, dinner parties, and any time I wanted to transport myself back to the vibrant streets of New Orleans.

Over the years, I have shared the recipe with friends and family, always with a twinkle in my eye and a promise of secrecy. I have no doubt that this dish will continue to be a beloved tradition in my family for generations to come.

So whenever I make a Catfish Muffeletta, I can't help but smile and think back to that warm summer day in New Orleans, when I stumbled upon a hidden gem of a recipe that would become a cherished part of my culinary legacy. And for that, I am forever grateful.


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