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Soppressata abruzzese (Salame pressato, Schiacciata)

Soppressata charcuterie

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The (“Salame  pressato”,  “Schiacciata”,  “Salame Aquila”, with a finer grain) is produced all over Abruzzo, although it is most common in the inland areas of the Province of Chieti, especially in the Alto Sangro and Aventino areas. This is raw, medium-grain charcuterie, with a fragrant aroma and mild, delicate flavour, made from fresh pork left to hang for one or two days at low temperature and then meticulously bled, skinned, boned and cleaned of the main connective tissue (tendons and aponeurosis) and the lowmelting soft fats. The cuts of pork generally used are the shoulder, neck, loin, thigh, belly and top quality trimmings and mince in variable proportions, usually 80% lean trimmings of which a minimum of 40% is ham and 20% belly.
It is irregular in shape, slightly curved with a typical lengthwise hollow in the middle section. The exterior is greasy since lard is used to preserve “soppressata”. Industrially-produced items have a widespread, natural white flocking
and/or slight green tinge. 
The meats are ground with a meat grinder with a 14-16mm bore diameter grille, using very sharp blades to avoid fat disintegration. For the best grinding results, meat should be left to firm for at least 8-10 hours, at temperatures below zero and never more than +3°C. Mixing is performed immediately after grinding so that the ingredients are properly combined and homogenized to encourage the even distribution of salt, pepper and any other spices. Mixing should not last too long as that will encourage disintegration of fats, which would make the salami slack and cause evident cracks and air pockets. The mixture requires no ripening, although it is left to rest for 2-3 hours while the intestine casing is prepared. The product is cased in pork or veal colon, which is carefully washed in hot water, ensuring the inside is also cleaned by turning it and then leaving it to soak in water and vinegar or water and lemon juice until it is required. The intestine is filled completely and a very clean metal brush is used to eliminate air bubbles that may be present in the recently-filled salami. Lastly the ends are tied with thin twine and the salami is pierced anywhere that air bubbles still linger. 
The salamis are pressed between two planks of wood or two pieces of steel mesh. The salamis are compressed for an initial drying phase (2-3 days), sothey become sturdier and less humid, thereby retaining their shape. Each producer takes their own time for this operation. In general, however, pressing begins when a 20% weight loss is achieved, about two weeks after casing, and the length of time varies from four days to a week. 
After pressing, the “soppressata” is hung once more on wooden rods and left to age slowly. When the right consistency is reached, equivalent to a weight loss of about 37%, the salamis are usually stored in olive oil so they keep longer, often over a year. In some areas, like Montenerodomo and Pizzoferrato, the “soppressata” will be stored in lard. Often consumption will begin 50-60 days from production. The region’s industries ripen the salamis in controlled thermoudometric and/or temperature conditions, at no more than 15°C, for at least 30 days. When cut, the salami is reddish in colour and very lean, with medium to coarse grain. In Schiavi d’Abruzzo and Castiglione Messer
Marino the salami is small in size and characteristic for its deep red colour, and use of fennel seed as a flavouring. 

L.T. 19-01-2021