With Mardi Gras fast approaching, and the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl, here is a festive recipe straight from the Big Easy, courtesy of the McIlhenny Company.

Muffuletta has been a classic New Orleans party food since the early 1900's when it is said to have been invented by a grocer in the New Orleans French Quarter. Although there is longstanding discrepancy among New Orleanians about who makes the best Muffuletta, this do-it-yourself version is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Serve this festive sandwich at your Mardi Gras celebration, award show viewing party, or gameday gathering and as they say in New Orleans "Laissez le bon temps rouler (let the good times roll)!"

Muffuletta

Serves 12.

Garlic Aioli:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon original Tabasco® brand pepper sauce

1 garlic clove, crushed

Spicy Olive Filling:

1 cup pimento-stuffed olives, finely chopped

cup pitted black olives, finely chopped

cup roasted red peppers, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons original Tabasco® brand pepper sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

Sandwich:

1 large loaf French or Italian bread, about 22 inches long

8 ounces sliced hard salami

8 ounces sliced deli ham

8 ounces sliced Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine mayonnaise, Tabasco sauce and garlic in small bowl; stir until well blended.

Combine green olives, black olives, roasted red peppers, Tabasco sauce, olive oil and sugar in medium-size bowl until well mixed.

Cut bread in half, horizontally, with serrated knife, but not all the way through; open flat. Spread both cut sides with garlic aioli mixture. Arrange salami, ham and cheese on bread evenly. Spoon spicy olive filling lengthwise down center of loaf.

Place sandwich on large piece of foil; close tightly to seal. Place on large baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

Cut into serving-size pieces.