Columbus Salame Co. recently released Farm to Fork, an all-natural salame line. The meats, while not organic or pasture-raised, are free of antibiotics, hormones, and nitrates. We taste-tested the new salami to see if it's worthy of holiday charcuterie platters.
A couple of weeks ago at the fifth annual Burger Bash in South Beach, Michael Symon took home the top honor for best burger. While some people argued it was his mother-in-law's secret sauce that made the burger people's choice, I believe it was the crispy salami that made the burger win. Crispy salami is like bacon — it makes everything taste better! It's an easy and delicious appetizer served on its own, and when tossed in a sandwich or burger, the crispy salami takes it to a whole new level. Inspired by Symon's burger, I tested out two methods for making salami chips. To find out which I preferred, keep reading.
Today, Annie asked me for help. She's hosting a small party tomorrow night and wants to serve some nibbles. Since it will be after work, the amount of time she can devote to cooking is limited. Thus she needs some delicious, but easy appetizer recipes. I provided so many suggestions, I thought, why not share them? Here, you'll find my favorite shockingly easy hors d'oeuvre ideas.
Although I'm not generally a fan of fatty cooked meats — I need everything from ribs to steak to be stripped of any stringy, slimy bits — I've never met a salume that I didn't love. So the first time I ordered a dish containing lardo, a type of salumi made of cured and seasoned pig fat, I wasn't sure which of my opposing preferences would win out. In the end, my love for salty, cured meats overpowered my distaste for fatty bits; the lardo and rosemary flatbread pizza at Mario Batali's Otto is a dish I still dream about, and now I order lardo every chance I get. Cured fat is certainly a polarizing item, so which camp are you in?
Source: Flickr User fulminating
One of the many trends at this year's Food & Wine Classic was blood sausage, which I spotted everywhere with its inky, dark color, especially at Cochon 555's Grand Cochon. We love the sausage's distinct mellow, earthy-sweet taste, which it takes on when the meat is mixed in with blood. Although it's popular in German, French, English, and Spanish cultures, blood sausage still hasn't fully caught on in the States because of its gory association. How do you feel about it?
At the Fancy Foods Show, I found myself drawn to paper-thin slices of dark, purple-hued cured meat. I quickly learned that the ultratender, sweet meat was something called bresaola, also known as beef prosciutto. Bresaola is an air-cured, spiced, and salted cut of beef that is aged for several months. The cut comes from the hind leg of the animal and is best served thinly sliced as an antipasto. While the beef cut (usually the eye of round) is very tender, unlike prosciutto, it's extremely lean and has no visible fat. Valtellina, the Alpine valley in Lombardy where bresaola was first conceived, is a protected geographical indication; those made in the same style outside Valtellina are often labeled "viande séchee" instead. The most popular way to serve bresaola is sliced on its own as an appetizer. It is often drizzled with olive oil or vinegar in the style of beef carpaccio, or served on top of salads and pizza. Have you ever tried bresaola?
Source: Flickr User snowpea&bokchoi
An Italian cured, smoked meat native to the Alto Adige, a region that straddles Northern Italy and Southern Austria. To make speck, a boned pork leg is cured in salt, and spices like laurel and juniper, then intermittently slow-smoked, using pine or juniper wood for several months.
Deep red in color with heavily marbled traces of fat, speck is served thinly sliced as an appetizer, or used in to flavor cooked dishes.
Note that speck from Alto Adige or Tyrol, which enjoys a protected designation of origin, should not be confused with the German usage of the word, which refers to lard.
Source: Flickr User dags1974
With cured meats making a comeback, it's common to see charcuterie and salumi platters on restaurant menus across the country. But are charcuterie and salumi the same thing? What about salumi and salami?
While charcuterie and salumi share many similarities — both are cured meats, and both maximize the use of every part of the animal — they're not the same thing. Charcuterie, a French term, typically refers to cooked meats such as pâtés. The Italian equivalent of charcuterie is referred to as affettati, while salumi generally refers to salted and dry-cured meats. Salame (plural is salami) is a cured sausage made from ground pork, and is a type of salumi.
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Referred to as "Italian bacon," pancetta is an Italian charcuterie selection made from salt-cured, aged pork belly. It is not smoked like American bacon, so it has a mellower flavor and higher amount of moisture.
Unlike prosciutto — cured, Italian ham that is made from the hind leg of the pig and is often served thinly sliced and uncooked — pancetta is made from pig's belly, so it is higher in fat content. It is often cooked so its fat can be rendered to add depth to sauces, pastas, roasts, and sautés.
There are many gourmet varieties of pancetta (you can even make it yourself) but don't look for any Italian versions. They are banned from being imported into the United States. Which do you prefer? Pancetta or prosciutto?