How To Make Sopressata (Part 1)


You learn something new everyday. I don’t think I’ve had a day where I didn’t learn at least one thing. I’ve also lost count of many days where I learned something I never imagined I would, and that makes me feel very lucky.

One of these days was a recent Saturday when I was fortunate enough to be invited to a friend’s company-sponsored Sopressata Making Class at the Piazza Brothers Wine Room in Staten Island, a place I wrote about here.

Sopressata (or supersata, soppressata, also sobrassada in Spain), is an Italian dry cured salami traditionally made of pork rejects and considered in the old days as “poor man’s sausage.”  When families slaughtered their pigs in the fall, the unwanted parts of the carcass such as the head and leftover meats were seasoned and cured as sausages to last through the winter.

As for its etymology, sopressata is from the Italian “pressare” meaning “to press,” referring to the old method pressing the liquid out of the sausage between two planks of wood weighted by a heavy object on top.

The sopressata we made that day was not from meat rejects but just regular coarsely ground pork shoulder. They came in tubs of two flavors, hot garlic and hot, and was seasoned using the powders below.

John Piazza, one of the Piazza brothers, introduced the process of making sausage to our group along side his brothers Freddie and Frank, who walked us through the process step by step.

Freddie (left) and John (right) beside the sausage maker machine before the process started.
The Sausage Maker
Sausage-making materials. Wire cutters for the ties, label tags, sausage casing.
Ready and eager hands.
John packs the meat into the sausage machine.
He gets a little help from Frank.
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