Cold and Cured Italian Meats
By: Liz Flynn
Italy produces many different types of food and drink. Cold and cured meats are one of the food products for which the Italians are well known. Not only are these used as ingredients for other dishes, they are served alone as a snack or as part of a platter of cold meats. Here are some of the most common you will find in an Italian delicatessen.
Bresaola is a salted dried beef from the top round that is aged for between two and three months. It is often served on its own, thinly sliced and slightly chilled or at room temperature. Some people like to add either balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or olive oil to this meat. Another popular way of eating Bresaola is with a salad topped with Parmesan and a seasoning of black pepper.
This is like a cured ham but is meat taken from the neck and shoulders rather than from the buttocks or legs. It is thinly sliced and served as an antipasto, on a sandwich or as a pizza topping.
Genoa salami is usually made from pork but sometimes also contains beef. Other ingredients include black and white peppercorns, garlic, wine, salt and fennel seeds. While many people eat this as an accompaniment to bread or cheese, it is also served as an antipasto, on pizzas or in salads.
In antipasto dishes, Mortadella is topped with a drizzle of olive oil. This cured meat is also used as a sandwich ingredient along with provolone cheese. It resembles bologna in flavour, appearance and size.
This is a cured Italian bacon that is taken from the belly of the pig, salt-cured and cut into slices. It is also flavoured with pepper and other spices. It is served on its own, as a pizza topping or in pasta sauces.
Prosciutto is one of the most widely used cured meats in Italy. It is usually served uncooked and thinly sliced. Some of the ways in which it is served are as a stuffing to joints of meat, wrapped around vegetables or fruit, as a pizza topping, in sandwiches or as an ingredient in pasta sauces.
Although soppressata is usually made from ham, there is a version that is made from beef. There are mild and spicy versions of this meat and it is a great alternative to pepperoni on pizzas.
This is a type of smoked prosciutto that is chewy and robust. It is often served as a sandwich filling.
A form of dry salami that is leaner than other varieties. It has a robust and distinctive flavour but is not overpowering. Toscano salami contains lean pork, fat, peppercorns and garlic.