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Soppressata is an Italian dry salami. 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. Perhaps the best-known internationally is the sopressa veneta. Each of these varieties qualifies for prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale status.
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 placed on crackers or sandwiches or eaten by itself, and is becoming a popular alternative topping to pepperoni for pizza in some pizzerias in the United States.
Soppressata di Basilicata is mainly produced in Rivello, Cancellara, Vaglio, and Lagonegro. Soppressata di Puglia of Martina Franca is especially famed. Soppressata di Calabria enjoys Protected designation of origin status; the one produced in Decollatura is especially renowned.
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.
- Media related to Soppressata at Wikimedia Commons