Over the years I’ve realized that all of these sayings must come with a bit of restraint. And for this reason, I’ve given up on the idea of a daily pork roast in favor of using a smaller portion of pig as a seasoning. While I haven’t managed to work it into a cocktail yet (I know there are bacon martinis out there, I just haven’t figured out the trick yet) I have used bits and pieces of pork in almost every other dish including dessert.
Faced with a huge chunk of leftover soppressata from Easter in Bari, I could think of no better use than cutting it into dice-sized pieces, frying it till crisp and adding it to what would otherwise be a rather ordinary green bean salad.
Cooked salami is something I grew up with. It’s one of the few dishes that I clearly remember my father making when I was younger. While my mother was in charge of lunches and dinners, I have clear memories of my father taking charge when it came to Sunday brunch. Trips to the deli to pick up bagels and lox figured prominently. But also real cooked meals like lox and eggs and onions. And, my favorite, salami and eggs. He would chop up salami into bit sized chunks, add them to a mess of scrambled eggs and that was it. Not fancy, but the taste of the salami managed to permeate the otherwise ordinary scrambled eggs into something meatier and definitely more delicious.
It was that chewy porkiness that I decided my string bean salad needed. So I cut the chunk of leftover salami into small cubes and added it to a heated pan. It was soon sizzling and giving up much of it’s fat. As it became crispy, a delicious fatty, spicy aroma filled the kitchen. The resulting rosy bits were almost like croutons, but porkified.
The rest of the salad was pretty straight forward. String beans steamed till tender; thinly sliced, vinegar-marinated red onions; and extra virgin olive oil.
If you’re wondering if it was hard not to eat the fried bits of salami right away, out of the pan, yes it was. That’s why it’s best to prepare the string beans before hand, so as to cut down on potential nibbling time. Otherwise you might not have any left for the salad.
- 1 kilo / 2 pounds string beans, trimmed
- 1 medium sized red onion
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup pieces of chopped pork salami
- Olive oil
- salt, pepper
- Slice the red onion thinly and place in a small non reactive bowl with the vinegar. Add a teaspoon of salt, stir and let sit while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- Steam the string beans until well cooked. Not mushy, but not overly crisp either. I hate the taste of raw string beans. When cooked, plunge into a bowl of ice water to keep them green. Drain well and pat dry. Place in a serving bowl.
- Heat small frying pan to medium heat, and add cubed salami. Cook until very well crisped up. This will probably take about 8 minutes or so. Stir while cooking to brown evenly.
- Scoop up with slotted spoon and drain briefly on a paper towel. Try not to eat all the pieces at once.
- Add the salami to the string beans, along with the onions. Dress with olive oil and the reserved vinegar from the onions. Add salt and pepper to taste.