Deli – Cold Meats and Sausages
Deli meats are appetising on their own in starters and snacks, and add spicy, salty or sweet elements to lunches and dinners.
The Italian version of bacon comes from pork belly and is dry cured in salt and spices such as nutmeg, pepper and fennel, and left to age for at least three months.
Pancetta is used where bacon is called for in a recipe, and, coarsely chopped, it can be added to casseroles, soups and pasta sauces.
Pancetta goes well with chicken breast fillets. Stuff the fillets with spinach and mozzarella cheese, or rub the fillets with a mixture of grainy mustard and lemon pepper, wrap in pancetta and bake.
In Italy, prosciutto is called “prosciutto crudo”, which means “raw ham”. It is similar to pancetta, but contains less fat as it comes from the pork leg. After being salted, the ham is left to age in a cold climate for nine to 18 months, and sometimes for three years.
Prosciutto’s salty, savoury characteristics lend flavour to many antipasto platters. Wrap it around asparagus, dates, wedges of melon, or grissini (long, thin, Italian-style breadsticks). To make the classic Italian dish of saltimbocca, wrap prosciutto around veal cutlets to flavour the meat and lock in moisture.
Beef pastrami is made by coating corned beef with various herbs, pepper and other spices, then smoking and steaming it.
This popular spicy mustard-topped sandwich meat can be included in wraps, canapés, salads and pastas.
Ham off the bone
To preserve it for long periods, ham, which is cured pork leg, was traditionally dry cured by rubbing with a salt mixture, then smoked and left to slowly air-dry and mature. Today, it is usually wet cured – a process that entails treating the pork leg with a salt and sugar-based solution before cooking. This faster method makes the ham moister and less salty, but means that it has a shorter shelf life.
Add to sandwiches and salads, or pizzas, quiche and pasta dishes.
Chicken and turkey loaves
Chicken and turkey loaves are made from mechanically deboned poultry and seasonings, and pressed into shape before being baked.
Add chicken roll slices to sandwiches and wraps, or coarsely chop it and use in salads or as a topping for pizza bases.
Chopped sausage wrapped in dough and fried or baked, stews, casseroles, soups and salads… The recipe ideas for Spanish and Italian charcuterie are endless.
The cured Spanish sausage made from pork has a strong flavour and a firm texture. If you’re looking for flavour combinations of garlic, black pepper and smoked paprika, this is the ideal sausage to use.
Sliced or chopped chorizo can be served cold as a starter, or pan-fried in a tapas-style dish, and added to casseroles, pasta dishes, soups and omelettes.
For a fresh approach, combine spicy chorizo with cooked chicken served with beans and wasabi mayo dressing on the side.
These cured sausages made from pork, beef or veal are flavoured with wine, salt and pepper, and / or various other spices and herbs such as garlic and onion powders, fennel and mustard seeds. The raw sausage is salted and dried, and often undergoes smoking and fermentation.
The varieties of salami are determined by their manner of drying (dry or semi-dry), the types of meat used, meat to fat ratio, and their texture, which vary between coarse and fine.
This sandwich and pizza topping favourite is also a great pasta, salad and canapé ingredient, and obligatory as part of an appetiser alongside bread and cheese. Semi-dry salami are good for cooking with: add them to meat and vegetable dishes, risottos and pasta sauces.
Although the uninitiated refer to mortadella as Italian polony / baloney (derived from Baloney), mortadella has nothing in common with polony other than the slight resemblance and the fact that polony was inspired by mortadella.
The misconception probably arises from the fact that mortadella is a product from Bologna, Italy, and the similarity to texture and cooking method: a very finely minced product stuffed in a casing before being baked.
But, unlike polony, which is an emulsified meat loaf, mortadella is a sausage, and while polony is made with pork scraps, or chicken and beef, mortadella is made of high-quality pork and cubes of pork fat, garlic, peppercorns, pistachios, and sometimes olives as well. After the mixture is stuffed into a casing, it is cooked in a brick oven.
Mortadella is traditionally served cut into paper-thin slices on focaccia or as part of an antipasto platter, or cut in thick cubes as snacks.
Chorizo will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. For pre-packaged chorizo, follow the use-by date and, once opened, use within five days.
Once opened and refrigerated, pancetta must be used within four days. The other cold meats under discussion and mortadella can be stored in in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.
Store pre-packaged salami in the fridge and consume by the “use by” date, or two to three days after opening. Freshly-sliced salami can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.