Cured meats and cold cuts are a staple of Italian cuisine, and the cuisine of Greater Europe. You have probably tasted a few of Italy’s most popular cured meats such as sausage, pepperoni, Salami and others, but have you ever tried the delicious Mortadella?
While you may not have heard of or tried mortadella, you have likely seen its Americanized cousin call bologna. While American bologna had its heyday in the 50s and 60s as an All-American sandwich meat, its bland taste and questionable cuts have led bologna to become out-of-style in today’s culture. The problem is and has been all along that unlike American bologna, mortadella is supposed to be fine cold cut just as any fine salami should be. Italian mortadella is still a fine cured meat, and its ingredients are still followed very closely to a 15% pork fat to meat ratio, and includes pepper, salt, myrtle berries and pistachios.
Uses for Mortadella
Most often the mortadella is sliced thin as a cold cut for sandwiches, just like bologna, but there are many uses for it including cubed and used in salad, eaten alongside melon for a smoky highlight, or sauteed for a good base flavor.
If you or any members of your family have an allergy to tree nuts or pistachios, then take care when using and preparing this products — as it contains pistachios.
Resurgence in America
For decades you could not find real mortadella in the United States; from 1967 to 2000 there was a ban on any mortadella imported from Italy — due to a breakout of African Swine Sickness. Throughout these years, the closest one could get to mortadella was American bologna, and even though American bologna remained unpopular for many decades, there was only recently a push to allow its import into the states again.
With real mortadella back on American shelves, we highly recommend giving it a try, it is a flavorful cured meat and a healthy alternative to the overly salty cured meats such as salami.