If you’ve ever craved soppressata, you know how delicious it can be in a panini, layered among slices of milky provolone and topped with warm sun-kissed tomatoes straight from the garden.
Here's a bit more about this Italian salami, from how it's made to how to store and eat it.
Soppressata is an Italian salami (a fermented and dried sausage) and a specialty of the southwestern Italian region of Calabria.
Although it is a staple of southern Italy, variations of soppressata exist throughout Italy and include Sopressa di Vicentina, a salami characteristic of the northeastern Italian region of Veneto.
Both soppressata or sopressa are made with pork using either the rich cuts of the shoulder or the leaner cuts of the ham, depending on the particular recipe.
The northern sopressa often includes aromatic spices such as garlic, cinnamon, clove, and black peppercorn, while the southern soppressata is restrained in its spices but does use a healthy amount of dried chili peppers, which is common to southern Italian foods.
How Soppressata Is Made
Soppressata is a mixture of lean and fat cut or minced pork that’s been seasoned with salt, dried chili peppers, black peppercorns, and red wine.
The red wine adds a depth of flavor, while the dried chili peppers and black peppercorns provide more a feeling of warmth rather than outright heat. Mixed with the ground pork, the spices and wine create a colorful spectrum, from dark orange to ruby red and deep purple.
These layers of flavor gleaned from just a few ingredients are a hallmark of southern Italian kitchens, but even within southern Italy, soppressata variations abound. Some family recipes include fennel seed, while others add a paste made from the chili peppers.
Whatever the recipe, the final mixture is stuffed into casings which may be natural or synthetic. The name, soppressata, is derived from the oblong, flattened shape of the salami, which is pressed between a weight for a couple of days and then hung to dry for between two and six months.
How to Store Soppressata
Once sliced, soppressata can be wrapped in parchment paper and stored in the fridge for approximately three weeks. It will continue to dry out, but the parchment paper allows it to remain fresh and last longer.
How to Eat Soppressata
Soppressata is a versatile salami for casual meals. Make it a topping for pizza or get a bit adventurous and incorporate it into the dough of your own homemade focaccia.
It is also an absolute, can’t-go-wrong sandwich filling and a standout part of any charcuterie board.