You can find them on any gourmet pizza menu: sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, prosciutto, fig jam, ricotta, arugula, and roasted vegetables of virtually any kind. But as childish as it sounds, once in a while I like to forgo all the fancy toppings and just make a simple pepperoni pizza. There is something oddly comforting in its simplicity.
So what is pepperoni? Pepperoni belongs to the sausage category and is a type of salami. The word salami comes from “salare”, which means to salt. This distinguishes it from fresh sausage because it is salty. There are literally hundreds of varieties of salami, with pepperoni being the most commonly purchased type in the United States.
Pepperoni is made from a combination of pork and beef jerky. It was so named in 1919 in New York thanks to the inclusion of black and red pepper in the seasoning process. Red pepper and paprika are recognized for the color of the final product.
The firm texture is the result of air drying. Because the meats used are finely ground, the shape of the pepperoni is retained even when exposed to high temperatures. You will notice, however, that the pepperoni will “tamp down” as it is heated.
If you buy it already sliced, it will usually be thin. I prefer to buy it whole and slice it myself. It is generally cheaper this way, falling under the rule of “the more it is cut, the more it will cost”.
One of the benefits of buying it whole is the shelf life. Yes, this is a jerky product, but it still needs to be refrigerated after opening the package. To keep it from drying out even more, I wrap it in waxed paper, then place the leftovers in a plastic bag.
you asked for it
Rachel Longmire from Huntsville writes, “I have a great root vegetable salad recipe that I love. I noticed that at the bottom of the recipe it suggests serving it with salmon candies. Can you clarify this for me? »
The term salmon candy is sometimes used for smoked salmon. Usually it will have a mixture of brown sugar, salt and sorghum or maple syrup brushed over the salmon towards the end of the smoking process.
Tammy Algood is the author of five cookbooks and can be seen on “Volunteer Gardener” on PBS stations in Tennessee. Follow her on www.hauteflavor.com.