Salametti is a dried Italian sausage traditionally made with beef, pork, and spices. Depending on the filling used, it can be spicy to mild in flavor, and it has a dry, slightly chewy texture. There are a number of ways to use this sausage in cooking, ranging from eating it plain as a snack food to slicing it into sauces, stews, and other dishes.
This dried sausage is very similar to salami. In fact, the primary difference between salami and salametti is the size, with the latter being around a quarter of the size of traditional salami. This makes them more convenient for people who have trouble eating a whole salami, and also makes them very handy for picnics and trips, since it can be packed whole in its protective casing without taking up a great deal of space.
There are two basic types of salametti: fine ground, and coarse ground. Fine ground ones are made with ingredients which have been ground very fine, creating a more smooth and uniform texture. Coarse ground ones have larger pieces of meat and spices, creating more of a rough texture in the finished product. Both classically include garlic, salt, and black pepper in their spice mixtures, although a range of other ingredients can be added as well.
Traditional salametti is made with raw meat which cures during a fermenting and drying process, allowing people to eat it as-is, without the need for cooking. Drying can take two months or even longer, depending on the producer, and during the curing process, the salametti develops a thick whitish crust. As long as the food remains whole, it can be stored at room temperature for up to a year, although it becomes perishable once it has been sliced open.
Some delis sell partially-cured salametti which is a bit softer than the traditional version, making it easier to eat, but also perishable. As a general rule, if salametti is stored under refrigeration at the deli or butcher, it should be refrigerated at home, but if it is stored at room temperature, it can be kept in a cold pantry or cool cupboard.
The best way to serve salametti is sliced very thin, allowing the meat to almost melt in the mouth as people taste it. It can be served on antipasto platters, eaten with bread and cheese, wrapped around various fruits, or used in any other circumstances where a cured meat might seem appropriate.