Anthony Bourdain's 5-Ingredient Mortadella Sandwich Is Hard Not To Love

Anthony Bourdain was not your typical celebrity chef. While he did work for many years in the kitchen, he was especially known for his television travel shows, which saw him discovering the world and its people through food. Always one to sample the local cuisine no matter what it was made of, Bourdain sometimes adopted his favorites into his own takes.

In his 2016 cookbook, "Appetites," Bourdain included a meat-heavy mortadella sandwich recipe inspired by a dish he first had at Sao Paulo's Bar Do Mané, during a 2007 visit to Brazil for an episode of "No Reservations." The culinary personality described eating the huge sandwich as an essential, must-do experience. And he meant it, as he returned to the same spot in 2012 while filming "The Layover." 

Bourdain's take on the mortadella sandwich includes a mere five ingredients, but when combined, it's irresistible. The sandwich starts with a bun (either sourdough or a Kaiser roll) slathered with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard that's then topped with pan-fried piles of thinly sliced mortadella and melted provolone cheese. Once assembled, the mere size of it resembles the gargantuan pastrami sandwiches from Katz's Deli in New York, which was, in fact, the sandwich Bourdain craved the most from home when traveling abroad

The big appeal of mortadella

If you take out the bun and the condiments, Anthony Bourdain's famous mortadella sandwich basically contains meat and cheese, which honestly could be construed as rather boring. But anyone who knows about mortadella knows that it's one exciting cold cut. 

Similar to, but not the same as bologna, mortadella is something to behold. With its rosy hue and peppered dots of bright white fat spread throughout, it's the mosaic of the charcuterie world, especially when it includes lime green pistachios. Originating in Bologna, Italy, it is considered an emulsified pork sausage. It's rich and even slightly sweet, with a touch of spice. Whether eaten cold or heated, as it is in Bourdain's sandwich, the chunks of fat melt, giving the meat a silky mouthfeel. 

You can certainly use it in place of bologna, and it's quickly become a favorite addition to many charcuterie boards. As far as its place in this sandwich, you really don't need a ton of ingredients to make a memorable meal. Bourdain's recipe includes an astounding half-pound of mortadella per sandwich, plus plenty of provolone, so it's a full-flavored mouthful already. But, if you're so inclined, feel free to put your personal ingredient touch on it with caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, or a smear of basil pesto.