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Soppressata is an Italian dry salami. Even if there are many variations, two principal types are made: a cured dry sausage typical of Basilicata, Apulia, and Calabria, and a very different uncured salame, made in Tuscany and Liguria. It is part of southern Italian cultural heritage, much more than in the north, in that locals, especially in the smaller rural towns will still slaughter the pig themselves and make their own soppressata, along with other cured meats as a tradition: nothing goes to waste.
Soppressata can be made of fresh hams, as well as other cuts. Pork is the traditional meat used, though it is sometimes made using beef. The meat is either coarsely pressed or ground as with other salami. Pressing gives it an uneven, rustic appearance when sliced. Soppressata is a specialty of southern Italy, and often includes hot pepper (though, as with all salami, seasonings vary). The sausage is hung up to dry for 3 to 12 weeks, depending on the diameter, and loses about 30% of its original weight. Cured soppressata is often stored in jars of olive oil. It is commonly sliced thin and eaten by itself or with bread.
Soppressata di Basilicata is mainly produced in Rivello, Cancellara, Vaglio, and Lagonegro. Soppressata di Calabria enjoys Protected designation of origin status; the one produced in Acri and Decollatura is especially renowned. Soppressata di Puglia of Martina Franca is especially famed.
Soppressata Toscana, Tuscan soppressata, is made from the leftover parts of the pig. First, the head is boiled for a few hours. When it is done, it is picked of meat and skin. All of the meat and skin, including the tongue, are chopped, seasoned, and then stuffed into a large casing. The cooking liquid is poured in to cover the mixture and it is then hung and the cooking liquid (high in gelatin) thickens to bind everything together. It is similar to the English brawn and the German Presskopf (Austrian Presswurst).
Sopressa Veneta got its name from the practice of pressing the salami between planks of wood resulting in a straight, flattened shape. The northern Italian version from Vicenza, in the Veneto region, did away with the pressed shape and has become an international favorite.
- Joe Famularo A Cook's Tour of Italy, 2003, HPBooks pag. 320 ISBN 1-55788-418-8
- Media related to Soppressata at Wikimedia Commons