Saturday, September 4, 2010

Caprese and Adventures with Artisan Salami

Yesterday we were hanging around at my sister and brother-in-law's house, and my other sister and her husband made caprese for us all. I didn't actually have any, because I rather hate the taste of tomatoes (trust me, I know it's sad, especially for someone who loves Italian food), but they looked delicious, and were super easy to make.
You slice the tomatoes and sprinkle ground thyme, salt, and pepper onto the slices. Then you place a leaf of fresh basil on top of the spiced tomatoes, and finally place a mozzarella ball (they come in a little tub you can get in the cheese section at your grocery store) on top of it all. Done!
Also last night, we attempted to eat some of the artisan salami I'd gotten for free from Creminelli for taking a survey on their packaging. I was actually really excited. Now, to be honest, I eat very little meat for health reasons, but I was willing to try this salami. I mean, really, how often do you get to sample artisan salami? That's right.
Cacciatore, Sopressata, and Wild Boar salamis
So I opened the package and was a little surprised to see two hard white blobs connected with string. Salami, what?
Then my sister Megan piped in and reminded me about a guy she'd seen on tv (and told me about only a few days before) who made "fancy" meats, and left them in a room to be covered in mold, because that made them fancier. So I ran to the computer to see if I could find anything that would shed some light on how to eat the "meat" I'd been given. I went to the Creminelli website and read about how their excessively fine meats were made in the Italian tradition (read with a stuffy voice and wave your hand around in a sophisticated manner), and that the moldy casing could be removed simply by allowing the meat to rest at room temperature for about twenty minutes, then cut off the tip and slice down the edge, peeling the casing as you went. All well and good, but when I went back downstairs and attempted this, the white "casing" could not be persuaded to separate from the rest of the meat. I also discovered that while I was researching, Megan had eaten a bit of the meat (I don't think she ever told me how it tasted), white mold included, much to my amazement, despite the fact that the "fancy" meat guy on tv had served his meat moldy, with the expectation that consumers would eat that part also. Yuck. I tried to convince my niece and nephew that they didn't need to eat any moldy meat, despite the fact that Mommy had just done so. The smell of very old gym shoes began to permeate the air. I stopped sawing at the meat and sniffed at the white powder rubbing off on my fingers. Yes, it was indeed eau de gym shoe. Needless to say, I was frustrated and a little put out that we didn't get to try any artisan salami, and it all ended up in the trash. Despite Creminelli's insistance that their artisan salami never goes bad, I am convinced that I got a bad bunch. Otherwise, how can people eat that? Call me uncultured, but Gross. Capital G.


Megan said...

It is also possible that the white covering was flour, instead of mold. I think mold is more common, though. You can read a little bit about the process of making salami and some different types here:

Honestly, I don't think I'm going to die or become ill from that bite of salami. For one thing, it was a dinky bite. For another, I'm pretty sure the company knows how to prepare salami properly, especially if they go on and on about using the best ingredients like they're supposed to be using. As for the taste, it was savory. That's about all I could tell from the small amount I had. True, I wasn't a fan of the eau de shoe, but then, salami's not really my thing for the most part.

LP said...

I, for one, thought it was flour. I ate about two inches of the stuff over a couple of days and have suffered no ill effects. It was a bit strong tasting, and I'm not a salami fan either, but when I combined it with cheese it wasn't too bad. In small amounts.

Thanks for the caprese recipe! Our tomatoes are ripening quickly and all at once. Now I know what to do with them besides putting them in a salad. I just wish my little basil plant hadn't died. (I forgot to water it. I'm a bad person.)