21 November 2013
Thanksgiving is suddenly next week! How did that happen? Clearly it is time to think about huge platters of appetizers. Okay! How about filling salami slices with a plentitude of delightful bits and pieces, making them into convenient bite-sized rolls, and frying them until hot and crispy?
We invented these guys several years ago, while we were living in Brooklyn and had access to the particularly amazing deli & meat counter at the Greene Grape Provisions. So much salami! Of course we had to find more ways for me to eat it than just in sandwiches, although those were well worth it too. This led to an evening of hovering over the stove, eating hot salami rolls right out of the pan. SO GOOD.
These tidbits would be especially good for a party because you can make a whole huge whack of them the day before, shove them in the fridge, and quickly fry them when you want to serve. It only takes about five minutes of last-minute cooking to produce a big platter of delicious bits. Hooray!
You'll want to either get your salami sliced to order at your local deli or buy it in pre-sliced packaged form. The thinness of the slices is key to making a tidbit that is flexible enough to roll, but not too greasy.
The other ingredients are easily interchangeable to your tastes. No mozzarella? Monterey jack, parmesan, or even a smear of cream cheese will be fine. Don't like mushrooms? Leave them out. Don't have bell peppers? Quarter some grape tomatoes instead. It's all good.
(The mushrooms up there were good too--stuff brown mushroom caps with simple pesto, add cheese if you want, and heat quickly under the broiler--but basil is pretty much over at this point, right?)
thinly sliced hard salami, roughly 3-inch diameter
bell peppers (any color but green)
spinach or chard leaves
good, solid wooden toothpicks (the cheap ones will break)
paper towels for blotting
Start by cutting all your cheese and vegetables into short, thin strips. The actual size will depend on the size of your salami slices. You want the fillings to fit securely inside a roll of salami for the duration.
Assemble your rolls by stacking a bit of each filling ingredient in a line down the middle of a piece of salami. Roll it up (or fold it in from both sides, depending on how full things are) and secure with a toothpick, punching in and out once like you're sewing a stitch. You don't have to go through the entire roll; just secure the loose ends of salami. Repeat until you have as many rolls as you want.
At this point you can cover your tidbits and put them in the refrigerator until right before you want to serve them.
When you want to serve, heat the frying pan of your choice on medium. Fry your tidbits, shaking the pan occasionally, until they start turning golden brown and crispy on both sides. Since salami has plenty of fat to render, you won't need to add any extra oil. Use a big enough pan, and you can fry all your tidbits at once for a super fast finish.
Remove your finished rolls to a paper towel and blot briefly. Arrange on the plate of your choosing and serve hot.
Now try to leave a few for your guests instead of just eating them all yourself while standing around gossiping in the kitchen.
What kind of appetizers are you planning for your Thanksgiving festivity?