I’m a HUGE fan of a fabulous antipasti board. In Italy, ‘antipasti’ dishes are eaten before a meal to stimulate your appetite. It’s all about getting those taste buds tantalised and everyones belly prepared for the main event. From what I’ve experienced, Italians love to spend hours grazing and the antipasti selection is equally important as the main meal.
Antipasti dishes can include sliced meats, various cheeses, pickle vegetables, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes , olives, bread etc etc. So, I decided that I would share with you my favourite Italian cured meats to create a perfect TTI antipasti board.
- MORTADELLA – originally from Bologna in Emilia Romagna. Mortdalla is a cooked cured meat. It is made up of minced pork and small cubes of fat. It has a very unique and delicious aroma. An unsmoked strong flavour with a smooth texture, giving it very different edge to any type of british ham. Serving suggestion: Thinly sliced or cubed with roasted artichokes. Alternatives: Italian cooked ham, Porchetta
- PARMA HAM – is an Italian cured ham. Its called ‘Prosciutto crudo’ in Italy, which translates to uncooked ham. Many regions have their own version, but the most common version available in the UK is the one made in Parma, Emilia Romagna. It has a delicious salty flavour and satin texture. It’s important that the fat is not trimmed off as this is an important contributing factor to its flavour. Serving suggestion: Paper thin slices with melon or figs. Alternatives: San danielle, Culatello.
- NAPOLI SALAMI – a classic Italian salami from the Campania region. Cured pork seasoned with whole peppercorns, garlic and cooked in wine. It has a firm and dense texture. This is one of my favourite salami. Serving suggestion: Sliced thicker than ham to give it a slight bite with Olives. Alternatives: Finocchiona (fennel), Ventricina (spicy) Toscana (garlic)
- BRESAOLA – is a regional speciality from the Northern Italian region, Lombardy. A salty cured and air dried raw fillet of beef. A super lean meat, it has hardly any fat at all. It has a distinctive dark red colour compared to the other pork options. Serving suggestion: thinly sliced with a squeeze of lemon and extra olive oil. Alternatives: capocollo, pancetta coppata
I love going to an independent Italian delicatessen and have all my meats freshly sliced. (Check out my Top 5 London Italian delis). However, Waitrose and other UK supermarkets supply all these meat pre-cut and vacuum packed which are very convenient to keep freshly packed if buying in advance.
Enjoy my lovelies.