Salami Tastings and Happy Faces
By: Sara Grazia
If there’s one thing I love in the world, it’s making my own salami and cured meats, my second greatest passion is when it’s time for tasting all these homemade delicacies I’ve spent days preparing and months nurturing and curing.
Over the past week or so I’ve been busy doing final checks on all the produce I’ve made a few months back. You may recall my series of ‘From Rump to Rafters’ blog posts from when I processed the entire pig I was given for my birthday.
Since then, the salami has been taken down and…….eaten! I decided to make another batch so that I could share it, but alas, that batch was also snapped up and eaten pretty quickly. There was nothing left to do other than make up a third batch! I was planning on making some more salami for mamma anyway, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to restock my personal supplies. Mamma has always used the same recipe for as long as I can remember, so that was going to be pretty straight forward. For my own stocks however I wanted to try a few different things, things I haven’t made in a while, so I picked a few recipes from my Secrets in Salami book at random and got started.
I ended up producing 10 kilograms of the Salame Felino (P118), 5 kilograms of the Genoa (P127)(which was so delicious I’ve made another 10 kilograms since), 10 kilograms of the Salame Napolitano (P123) and a few kilograms of the Calabrian - Salame Calabrese (P119), all of which vary in flavour, colour and texture. And for safe measure I've also got some Finocchiona (P11), Soppressata Molisana (P110) and some Salame Milanese (P114) hanging from my rafters just in case.
The Felino recipe (a personal favourite) is a classic, authentic recipe that just melts away in your mouth. It’s sweet on the first few nibbles with a bit of a kick to follow. You would have seen a number of posts from me on Twitter, Facebook and Google + about this recipe. I’m slightly obsessed with it at the moment to say the least. The Genoa and Finocchiona salami recipes are however strong contenders. Deeper in colour, the extra fat in the recipe keeps the salami exquisitely succulent and full of flavour. The fat melts away on your tongue leaving a sweetish flavour behind. The meat holds onto the peppers and when mixed together they create quite an extraordinary flavour combination. I’ll be making another batch of these for Christmas I think, perfect for gift giving.
The Calabrese is and will forever be a favourite. A recipe my mamma introduced me too many years ago. It’s succulent, rich in colour, flavour and of course heat! You really need to be particular about the type of chilli you use for this recipe, especially if you like to break into a sweat on every mouthful. I use mamma’s home grown peppers, but when there’s none available I go for the Calabrian Chilli flakes. These are available at the Cellar Plus stores in North Melbourne and Epping (for Melbourne residents). These guys import them directly from Calabria and you can taste the difference, and they’re HOT! I also use them in the Napolitano.
You might remember in my ‘From Rump to Rafters’ blog posts back in June, the sizes of the Lonza, Capocollo and Pancetta that I produced. Well there are a couple of these that are ready and I’m excited to be showing them off today. Some of the prosciutto is still curing and I estimate they will need a few more weeks of hanging before they're ready, and another 4 more months on the full leg prosciutto.
This particular Pancetta you’re seeing here was made using an Italian friend’s recipe from the northern Alps region of Italy. It’s not for the faint hearted, however if you’re a fan of ‘spicy hot’ then this is your heaven on earth!
This Pancetta was seasoned and then rolled. Making good, tasty produce, isn’t enough, you also need to serve it correctly to get the full appreciation for your time and effort. When this Pancetta is sliced thinly and delicately it falls apart in your mouth.
For the Capocollo I used a more traditional recipe. Another classic that mamma has used for many years. A little salty with a peppery kick. The succulence is perfect, not to juicy and not dry.
The color is beautiful and deep with an even marbling throughout. As I’ve said many times before, we Italians like our food to look as good as it tastes and this Capocollo couldn’t get more ideal than this. I like to serve my Capocollo sliced a little thicker that the Pancetta, however thin enough to maintain a slight translucence when held up to the light. I want to enjoy the colours, excite my senses with the fresh and peppery fragrance and then….. I’d like to say – take a delicate nibble and bask in the lusciousness and flavours, but alas…. it’s gone! It's lucky that I have plenty more slices on hand so there is no need for delicate nibbling!