Bourdain's Mortadella Sandwich is one of the most heavenly things I've ever eaten! With simple ingredients like crispy pan-fried mortadella, melty cheese, and a warm, toasted bun, this sandwich is simple but divine. The original recipe appears in his cookbook and this is my adaptation.
What is Bourdain's Mortadella Sandwich?
Bourdain's famous mortadella sandwich is loaded with crispy fried prosciutto, melty cheese, mayo and mustard on a toasted roll.
This sandwich itself was inspired by one of his trips to Brazil.
During this episode, he visited Bar do Mané, which is an iconic sandwich bar in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
This restaurant/bar is known for their heaping mortadella sandwiches that are oozing with delicious melted cheese.
It's one of those dishes that highlights the influence from both Italy and Brazil.
He loved it so much that he even added it to his cookbook, Appetites - with his own spin of course!
After I got his cookbook, I scoured the pages and was so excited to find it in there.
So here is my adaptation of Bourdain's mortadella sandwich!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Mortadella - Mortadella is definitely the main ingredient in this sandwich so I don't think I would suggest another substitution. If you absolutely had to, you could definitely try regular bologna.
- Cheese - In his cookbook, he uses provolone, but in my adaptation, i suggest using white American cheese because it melts so gloriously. And before you give me the stink eye, Anthony Bourdain thinks that processed cheese (like american or velveeta) is superior on a toasted sandwich - it says so in his book!
- Bun - I suggest using a kaiser roll but in the book he recommends a sourdough, kaiser bun, or even a Portuguese water roll.
- Mayo - I used Kewpie Mayo on my sandwich but he recommends you make it yourself in his book.
- Mustard - Regular dijon is what his recipe calls for... but plain ole' yellow mustard works just fine, too!
How to make it
Making Bourdain's Mortadella sandwich is super easy!
To begin, you'll first want to heat up a cast iron skillet over high heat. If you have a griddle function on your stovetop, that works, too!
While it's heating up, it's time to prepare the mortadella.
Since we're using a whopping ½ of meat on each sandwich, we'll begin by breaking it down into three piles.
Bourdain recommends that there are air pockets in between the slices of meat so to do that, we'll be folding, clumping, and piling the mortadella slices on top of each other to create each pile.
Once the cooking surface is hot and the meat piles are prepared, you'll quickly add some oil to the pan immediately followed by the piles of meat.
Let the mortadella cook for a minute or two until it develops a golden, crispy crust.
Then flip it over and cover each of the 3 piles of meat with a slice of chese.
Once the bottom is crispy, stack the piles on top of each other and get ready to toast the bun.
Split the bun in half and place it, interior side down, on the pan.
I recommend moving it around so that it soaks up all the little bits of oily goodness that are left in the pan.
Once the bun is warmed through and develops a slight crust, it's time to remove it from the heat.
Smear one side with the mayo and one side with the mustard.
Add the meat and cheese stakcs to the middle and close the sandwich up.
Slice it down the middle and serve immediately.
Anthony Bourdain also says to serve it with an ice cold beer which I highly recommend!
What to serve with it
This sandwich goes perfectly with an ice cold beer!
But if you wanted to pair it with some other tasty stuff, try these ideas!
If you're feeling the crispy meat vibes, try this fried prosciutto, strawberry and burrata salad. Or for a vegetarian option, try this sheet pan cauliflower piccata or a burrata caprese.
You could also pair it with some chicken florentine soup or even this rustic tortellini soup.
Save this recipe for later
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Bourdain’s Mortadella Sandwich
- ½ lb mortadella thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 3 slices white american cheese
- 1 regular kaiser bun
- 1 tbsp mayo
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- Heat up a cast iron (or flat top skillet) on high.
- While it’s heating up, gently divide the mortadella into 3 piles - clumping and folding each piece on top of the other - making sure that there are air pockets between the slices.
- Once you’ve got the mortadella piles ready and and the cooking surface is super hot, quickly add the oil and place the stacks of meat on top.
- Let the meat brown and caramelize for about a minute or so then flip each pile and add a slice of cheese on top. Once the bottom layer of meat is crispy, pile the meat and cheese stacks on top of each other and toast the bun directly in the pan — moving them around to soak up any excess oil.
- Once the buns are warm and toasty remove it from the heat. Add a smear of mayo to the bottom bun then place the meat and cheese stack on top. Smear the mustard on the top half of the bun and then close up the sandwich.
- Slice it down the middle and serve immediately.