Beyond bologna: Behind the deli counter
Picnic season is upon us. If you can’t tell bologna from salami and tend to pack your picnics Oscar Mayer style, here is a guide that will open your hungry eyes to a variety of exquisite Italian style meats.Chef Cesare Casella, a native of Tuscany, oversees the kitchen at Salumeria Rosi.
“It’s like going into a candy store,” Casella said. “There are many different types of candy. … it's about what you're in the mood for." The Soppressata is a large, coarsely ground, dry-cured sausage made with lean pork meat, pork fat, and an array of spices. It has a salty and slightly spicy taste sure to make your mouth water. The Bresaola is air-dried, salted beef rich in taste with a delicious gamey flavor. It is commonly sliced thin, topped with a little olive oil, lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper. Il Parmacotto is cooked ham with a satisfyingly soft flavor and mildly spicy aroma. It is Italy’s top-selling salume, low in both fat and salt, it’s an essential part of the Italian diet and a healthy addition to your basket. Prosciutto di Parma comes from the hind thigh of the hog and is one type of meat you don’t want to save it for last. In order to enjoy it at its best, it should be thinly sliced and consumed immediately. It is salt-cured and air-dried with a 18-36 month aging process that creates a range of flavors and textures that are dangerously delicious. Guanciale is cured pork jowl. It has a rich, slightly spicy, pork flavor and used to make several pastas such as alla carbonara and all’amatriciana. The meats are often served with fruit, bread and cheese, Casella said. He suggested figs, cantaloupe and nectarines, as well as tuscan and focaccia breads. Mozzarellas and parmesan cheeses pair nicely too. Fruit mustards also make for delicious additions to the meats; they’re available at Salumeria Rosi and other specialty stores.
Here are some cold combinations to try at your next picnic: Il Parmacotto, arugula and fresh tomato on homemeade focaccia bread. Prosciutto di Parma Mozarella di Bufala and extra virgin olive oil on homemade ricotta bread.