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Salametti is a dried Italian sausage traditionally made with beef, pork, and spices. Depending on the filling used, salametti can be spicy to mild in flavor, and it has a dry, slightly chewy texture. There are a number of ways to use salametti in cooking, ranging from eating it plain as a snack food to slicing it into sauces, stews, and other dishes.
This dried sausage is very similar to salami. In fact, the primary difference between salami and salametti is the size, with salametti being around a quarter of the size of traditional salami. This makes them more convenient for people who have trouble eating a whole salami, and also makes salametti very handy for picnics and trips, since it can be packed whole in its protective casing without taking up a great deal of space.
There are two basic types of salametti: fine ground, and coarse ground. Fine ground salametti is made with ingredients which have been ground very fine, creating a more smooth and uniform texture. Coarse ground salametti has larger pieces of meat and spices, creating more of a rough texture in the finished product. Both classically include garlic, salt, and black pepper in their spice mixtures, although a range of other ingredients can be added as well.
Traditional salametti is made with raw meat which cures during a fermenting and drying process, allowing people to eat salametti as-is, without the need for cooking. Drying can take two months or even longer, depending on the producer, and during the curing process, the salametti develops a thick whitish crust. As long as the food remains whole, it can be stored at room temperature for up to a year, although it becomes perishable once it has been sliced open.
Some delis sell partially-cured salametti which is a bit softer than traditional salametti, making it easier to eat, but also perishable. As a general rule, if salametti is stored under refrigeration at the deli or butcher, it should be refrigerated at home, but if it is stored at room temperature, it can be kept in a cold pantry or cool cupboard.
The best way to serve salametti is sliced very thin, allowing the meat to almost melt in the mouth as people taste it. It can be served on antipasto platters, eaten with bread and cheese, wrapped around various fruits, or used in any other circumstances where a cured meat might seem appropriate.
I wonder where the name salametti and salami come from? I'm curious because I've seen sausages called "salam" in the Middle East. It was never made with pork because the Middle East is mainly Muslim and pork is not eaten. Instead there were a variety of "salam" made of beef and chicken. Some were more fatty, spicy and one type had pistachio nuts in it. But all of them were very uniform and minced finely.
I wonder if they picked up the recipe of salametti or salami in Italy and then altered it to their taste? It would be interesting to find out the origin of the word and how it spread to other countries in the region.
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