The term “salami” in used in Italy to describe various types of pork meat, pork sausage products and any types of encased meat, (insaccati), loosely derived from the Latin, “salumen”, or mixed salted meats. Regional variations and preparation techniques have given rise to different types of salami.
All salami is made from pork, but differentiated by the fineness of its ground texture and consistency and its particular ratio of pork fat. Regional spices and flavorings can include salt, pepper, garlic, wine, mace, fennel and sometimes, cinnamon. The meat is then packed into casings and dried in dark, cool cellars.
Salami can be offered in fresh cooked or dry varieties. Fresh salami must be cooked before eating; dry-cured salami is ready to slice and eat. In general, salami should be sliced thin, to maximize its flavor and earthy aroma. Hard or dry-edged salami s best enjoyed when served in thick slices.
Salami is the perfect appetizer, served alone or with hard cheeses, such as pecorino. Salami can also be used as a savory base for tomato sauces. For some, enjoying salami--- like peasant Italian hunters did, with crusty bread, hard cheese, olives and wine---is still sublime and satisfying in its simplicity.