[Sca-cooks] good fermented hard wine cured salami

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Thu Aug 7 04:26:25 PDT 2008

On Aug 6, 2008, at 11:57 PM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> What makes salami different from pepperoni?

The short answer: pepperoni is seasoned with some form of mild chili  
or hot paprika. In addition, while it may not be a defining  
characteristic, pepperoni is more often stuffed into a smaller- 
diameter casing than other salamis. and may therefore cure and dry  

> I've often found that the pepperoni I've had has often been more  
> greasy than the salami. Perhaps because much of the pepperoni I've  
> had has been cooked, while the salami hasn't.

That's probably one reason; another might be that the pepperoni  
manufacturers are expecting you to eat less of it at a sitting, and  
make a cheaper product.

> What do you mean by "fermented hard wine cured salami"? Is that  
> "fermented, hard wine, cured salami"? or "fermented, hard, wine- 
> cured, salami"? If the later, and I suspect that is the case, what  
> does it mean to be "wine cured"? How is this done? Is the wine mixed  
> in with the ground meat and spices? Or is the salami soaked in the  
> wine for a while?

There's that question of where to put the comma when using multiple  
adjectives again... yes, the latter. The salami is fermented. It is  
also hard (assuming it is a hard or Genoa-type variety, and not some  
cotechino or other "cooked" variant). It is also wine-cured.

Wine has been part of the meat-curing process for many products since  
the days of Cato the Censor. It flavors the meat, acts as a dessicant,  
and often introduces bacteria that are beneficial to the curing  
process. Generally some wine is mixed into the meat mixture, and then  
the curing sausages may be subsequently rinsed or rubbed down  
periodically with more wine.

> Are most of these types of meats, pepperoni, salami fermented? How  
> is this done? Is it like fermenting drinks or sour cream?

Think of the sour tang that you find in the flavor profile of some  
cured meats, especially anything that's a darkish red but not smoked:  
corned beef, lots of the venison sausage you run across, "summer"  
sausage, prosciutto, etc. Also sauerkraut, some brined cucumber  
pickles, and some gravlax. I'm sure there are other examples, but some  
of what you're tasting is lactic acid, produced by lactobacilli that  
have either taken up residence on their own or been deliberately  

It's been claimed -- I don't know if it's true -- that wine is added  
to the mixture as a bacterial starter. You also sometimes find a white  
mold growing on the outside of various salami products; modernly, at  
least, that has also been introduced for its beneficial effect. I'm  
not entirely sure what that beneficial effect might be; I think it  
causes the casing to deteriorate slightly, making is easier to slice  
(this would be after the curing is largely completed anyway, so it's  
not like popping a water balloon, or that breaching the casing is a  
huge problem due to bacterial infection), but I can't say for sure  
that these effects are the reason for introducing the mold. The mold  
itself is a penicillium variant similar to the stuff that makes the  
white rind of some cheeses, such as Brie.


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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