Salumi is a generic term that covers a vast assortmentf different meats that
have been cured with salt and spices then cooked or dried, For an antipasto
platter, cut the meat into bite-size chunks or fold or roll slices so that they are
easy to pick up. Serve 2 pieces per person of each of the following meats.
Italy is famous for its prosciutto, a salted and air-dried ham that requires no
cooking. The most famous of these hams, prosciutto di Parma, comes from the
area around Parma where Parmigiano cheese is also made. Thin slices should
be supple and velvety in appearance, with a slightly chewy consistency. Have
the proscuitto sliced in paper-thin, translucent slices.
There are dozens of types of salami whose texture and flavor reflect the
character and traditions of the different regions of Italy. Salami are usually
made from pork with various spices and seasonings, such as garlic, black
peppercorns, fennel seeds, crushed red peer, or wine, added.
Mortadella is a specialty from Emilia-Romagna. It is a large, smooth-textured
sausage that is studded with cubes of creamy fat and sometimes pistachios.
Mortadella has a delicate pink color and mild flavor.
Cappocollo or Coppa
This meat is made from the upper portion of the pig's neck and part of the
shoulder. It is cured using an aromatic mixture of herbs and spices, wine, and
garlic. Cappocollo has a delicate flavor and a tender, fatty texture.
Soppressata is a large, wide salami made from coarsely ground lean pork and
pork fat. It is flavored with black peppercorns or cruched red pepper, salt, and
red wine. Soppressata is usually available in sweet and hot versions.
You only need to choose one type of cheese to accompany other items on an
antipasto platter. Serve the cheese as a wedge that guests can cut
themeselves or cut it into slices or bite-size pieces.
Provolone is an Italian cheese made from cow's milk with origins in southern
Italy. You can usually purchase provolone in both mild and sharp versions.
Imported provolone is sharp and slightly smoky flavored and is a nice
accompaniment to the flavors of salumi.
Buy fresh mozzarella that is mild, soft, and creamy. Mozzarella's delicate
texture contrasts well with the more chewy textures of the meats on an
antipasto platter. Bocconcini or "little bites' in Italian, are small balls of
mozzarella that are the perfect size for easy serving.
Choose several varieties of fresh or marinated vegetables for an antipasto
platter. Some suggestions are celery or carrot sticks, cucumber slices, cherry
tomatoes, marinated artichokes or mushrooms, olives, peperoncini, vinegar