What Is Soppressata – Your Guide To This Italian Delicacy

October 21, 2022

Soppressata is an Italian salami. While there are many kinds of sausage and salami preparations, soppressata is uniquely top-shelf stuff.

I love the taste and versatility of well-cured meat which is why soppressata is my favorite salami for day-to-day meals. This oblong-shaped salami goes exceptionally well with an simple cheese and lettuce sandwich recipe.

My family loves sandwiches but soppressata sandwiches can’t be challenged in my home. Well, what is so special about soppressata? Let’s get into it.

what is soppressata

What Is Soppressata?

Soppressata is a kind of salami originating from Italy. It is a fermented and dried sausage made from coarsely ground pork or ham mixed with spices and stuffed into edible casings. These casings are cured for a minimum of 40 days.

How is Soppressata Made?

Commercially-made salami, which is sometimes named soppressata, is made in much the same way as sausage. However, traditional salami is a more intricate affair.

Different Italian regions have some variation of salami depending on which spices are mixed into the ground meat. This traditional salami originates from Southern Italy and the recipe involves:

  • Fat and lean cuts of pork, minced
  • Salt
  • Dried chili peppers
  • Black peppercorns or ground black pepper
  • Red wine

The minced pork is seasoned with salt and mixed with dried chili peppers and black peppercorns. Red wine is added to the mixture to add warmth and depth to the recipe.

The mixture is stuffed into natural casings made from the thick intestine of animals. This traditional sausage is held in a press for a few days, giving it the characteristic oblong shape it is famous for.

It is then dried for forty days to six months depending on what the recipe calls for.

Different Versions of Soppressata

Naturally, there are as many versions as there are Italian townships and each recipe has unique ingredient combinations. The recipe above is a fairly conservative variation and is native to the southern region of Italy.

That said, even in this region, there is no standard recipe for making soppressata. In the northern regions, this salami is called soppressa and contains more adventurous flavors.

Ingredients may include aromatic spices such as garlic, cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, fennel seeds, hot pepper, and black peppercorns which add an array of flavors to the cured meat.

Southern regions famous for this salami include Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania Abruzzo, and Molise.

The best-known soppressata salumi is Soppressata di Calabria. It is also the only one with DOP status or Protected Designation of Origin, meaning that it is a certified original product from the region and manufactured under strict guidelines.

Northern Italian regions known for soppressa include Veneto, where you will find Sopressa di Vicentina, and Tuscany, where it is called Capo freddo or Cappacia.

Soppressata calabrese

What Cut of Pork is Sopressata Made From?

Different recipes use different parts of the pig for their ground pork. Some are mixtures of different parts of the hog.

Most recipes use leaner cuts from the shoulder and ham scraps of the pig mixed with fat. Most northern sopressa recipes use lean cuts of meat and meat from leftover parts such as the pig’s head. They also use less fat than southern Italian kitchens.

Is Soppressata Different From Salami?

Soppressata is a kind of salami. It is specifically native to Italy while salami is a general term referring to ‘fermented and cured sausage’.

What Does Soppressata Taste Like?

The taste of this traditional delicacy depends on the spices used to make it and the curing process. The Southern version is more subdued but features a hot and warm flavor profile since it is mainly spiced using peppers and wine.

Northern soppressa versions have a broader range of savory flavors due to the sheer number of spices that are included in soppressa recipes.

Soppressata has a course, dense texture and uneven consistency which comes apart very well and provides a delicate, spicy, melt-in-the-mouth feel. It is incredibly delicious in a sandwich.

How To Eat Soppressata?

Charcuterie Board

As part of a charcuterie board, it goes exceptionally well with:

  • Dried fruits such as dates almonds, figs, and prunes
  • Fruit such as apple slices, almonds, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, kiwi, peaches, pineapple, mango, and oranges.
  • Cheeses
  • Nuts
  • Jam and jelly

Basic Soppressata Sandwich

  • 2 slices sourdough sandwich bread
  • 2 slices soppressata
  • 2 leaves lettuce
  • Cream cheese

Simply apply the cheese to both slices of bread. Make it as thick as you like. Place one lettuce leaf on the cheese and place the soppressata slices on the lettuce. Place the second lettuce leaf on the soppressata and finally, the second slice of bread.

It’s that simple. You can include any other ingredients in this sandwich, however, given the strong spicy flavor of soppressata which is bolder than regular salami, this simple recipe is sufficient.

homemade soppressata salami

How Should I Store Soppressata?

Soppressata is essentially cured meat which makes it fairly immune to spoilage. That said, it is important to ensure that you don’t consume unsafe meat, so refrigerate sliced soppressata in an airtight meat container to prevent bacterial growth.

Wrap the sliced soppressata in plastic wrap or parchment paper and expel as much air as possible before placing it in the airtight container. Eat it within three weeks.

It can last for approximately a month in the fridge but if you want to keep it for longer, freezing it would be a better option. It will last for 2 months in the freezer when well-wrapped or vacuum-sealed.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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