There are far more deli meats than most people have heard of; sliced thinly and used to make sandwiches or just served up on a party platter for you to help yourself, they are bursting with flavour. Here are some of the most popular ones to whet your appetite.
Pastrami is usually made from beef. It is pickled in brine, dried, lavishly seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices and finally smoked. Generally the outer skin is generously peppered. Served thinly sliced it is tender and delicious.
Prosciutto, which is also known as Parma ham, is simply ham that has been dry-cured and which is served raw. It can take up to two years to make and properly age, and the very best Prosciutto can be quite expensive. It is very flavoursome and has a chewy texture and one of the top deli favourites.
Bologna is a sausage and it is sometimes called polony or boloney. It is made from a blend of pork and beef, highly seasoned and smoked. Finally it is boiled. Sometimes a large quantity of garlic is also used, especially in German Bologna, so be prepared.
Salami is also a sausage and although various meats can be used to make it, generally it is pork. The meat goes through a fermentation process followed by air drying. It contains copious amounts of garlic, it is quite salty, and can be heavily sliced. It comes in several different varieties each one with a distinctive and delicious flavour.
Pepperoni is not at all dissimilar to salami. Again is it made from beef or pork and the ingredients include peppers, garlic, mustard seeds and other spices including paprika and cayenne. It is redder in colour than Salami with a hotter flavour that derives from these hot spices. The name pepperoni is derived from the bell pepper from which paprika is manufactured.
Spanish Ham or Jamón Serrano has become very popular over recent years. The cheaper cuts are made from the white pig, though if you are lucky enough to find Jamónibérico it is made from black Iberian pigs. Both are delicious though the latter is significantly more expensive. The fresh ham is salted and dried for around six months and are then hung for a year or even longer. These hams are subtly different in flavour from Italian hams.
Imported canned corned beef was a staple food in the UK during the Second World War. Most of it came from Uruguay and following the end of the war most people had grown tired of it and it became unpopular. However that reputation has been left behind and today it is a deli favorite, though it probably tastes much better now. Essentially it is boiled salted beef and it is soft and tender with a distinctive flavour. The “corned” in its name comes from the corns of salt used in its manufacture.
Not all of the favourite Deli meats are highly flavoured like those listed above. Many people with milder palettes prefer the more traditional cuts such as these:
Honey Baked Ham
For people who prefer a much milder flavour than the deli meats described above, honey baked ham is a particular favourite. It contains fewer preservatives than most deli meats and tastes sweet rather than salty.
Roast beef is similar to honey roast ham in that it is a fresh deli meat rather than one that has been aged for an extended period of time. It is a natural British deli favourite.
Roast Chicken and Turkey
Roast chicken and turkey are also deli favourites. Again they are the traditional cuts of meat which are not heavily spiced and cured.
If you need to stock your Deli, try out Cotswold Fayre
Photos courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org