Guide to Salami

Salami isn’t just found in downtown delis and big city supermarkets. Its appeal is such that it even gets mentions in ski magazines and can be enjoyed at ski resorts, served with black bread and fondue. Consumed worldwide, salami – or Salame, or Kielbasa – is best known to Americans as “Italian Salami”.

Developed centuries ago, salami always kept well for Italian peasants who developed this uncooked, fermented, air-dried sausage which lasted up to a year without refrigeration. The name salami originates from “sale”, Italian for salt.

Originally salami was a term used to refer to any salted meat. Later the definition was narrowed to specify ground or minced, salted and spiced meat. This meat product is forced into a thin, transparent tubing of animal “gut”, cylindrical in shape, and then tied off at the ends.

Most people are familiar with salami made from pork and beef. It has also been made with venison, horse, lamb and goat. Salami may include fat, wine, wheat, cornstarch, salt, herbs and/or spices.

Some varieties of salami

Milanese – Beef, pork and fat are minced and added in equal amounts. Seasoning comes from garlic, pepper, and white wine.

Genoese – A fatty salami, named after its place of origin and featuring white peppercorns.

Fegatelli – Air-dried, Corsican style. Pork liver, pork meat and fat are combined with garlic, red wine, spices and sea salt.

Finocchiona – Pork shoulder (lean pieces) and fat are mixed with fennel seeds, garlic and wine.

Pepperoni – Pork butt with the fat included is combined with lean beef, garlic, red wine, cayenne pepper, sweet paprika and anise seed.

Essentials supplies for a homemade salami sandwich

The foundation of a great homemade salami sandwich is the bread. While it’s a personal choice, as is the type of salami used, recommendations include rye, pumpernickel or some variety of hard roll. Plain wheat or white bread will do, but will not typically stand up to the bulk and weight of the ingredients.

Besides the salami itself, a great salami sandwich will include some or all of the following ingredients: mozzarella cheese, mixed greens or arugula, roasted red peppers, brine-cured black olives, and tomatoes.

Brush the cut sides of the bread with olive oil; pile on the aforementioned ingredients and the salami of choice. As an option, before assembling the sandwich cut everything into chunks and mix in a bowl with olive oil and herbs. Once the sandwich is completed, it can be wrapped tightly and refrigerated. Giving the ingredients time for a blending of flavors will result in the finest of sandwiches.

Salami round the world

For old-time salami and pastrami in the U.S., venture to Hobby’s Deli in Newark, New Jersey. Try a #13 – turkey, chopped liver and salami, coleslaw and Russian dressing sandwich.

At the Ragazzi Ristorante Pizzeria in the Cayman Islands, dine on a mouthwatering antipasto comprised of prosciutto, bresola, and salami with roasted red peppers and parmesean.

Hoxton Apprentice Restaurant and Grill in London features a Hoxton Deli Platter with bresola, salami, Milano, Parma ham, grilled flat bread, olives, peccarino, quince and pesto.

Genoese salami and Ligurian pesto is often found in the local cuisine of Genoa, Italy, although locals aren’t afraid to admit that salami produced in their area is of poorer quality.

Warmth and humidity are required for the curing process that produces every variety of salami. The average curing time is thirty-six weeks. Salami that has been aged longer produces a more distinct flavor. Less than thirty-six weeks and the taste is sweeter.

Salami for sandwiches is sliced thin and layered on. Salami to be used in cooking is sliced thickly and chopped into chunks. An exception is pepperoni which is cut into thin slices and cooked atop pizza.

Reference:
1. Guide to Cured Italian Meats: Salami, Salame, or Salumi – Scordo.com
2. Guide to Salumi: Cured Meats of Italy – Huffington Post

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