Happy Salami Season!!!! It’s that time of the year when I go all salamied out because Purim, and it’s been a Busy In Brooklyn tradition for years now!
It all started with this thing I read about salami being hung like the evil haman in the Purim story and a tradition was born to trash up salami every which way in true Purim spirit.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve definitely heard of my viral DRUNKEN HASSELBACK SALAMI that’s become a staple in Jewish homes and deli counters worldwide, and the ever popular SALAMI BABKA that made waves in recent years.
I’m always dreaming up new salami ideas, and this year I took inspiration from Chef Erick Vargas Bromberg (@evb_nyc), formerly of one of my favorite kosher restaurants of all time, Boru Boru.
Erick served up salami nduja at his most recent job at Gruit (he has since left) and I was intrigued! Nduja (pronounce en-doo-ya) is a spreadable sausage, traditionally made with the nonkosher meat (if you know what I mean!) and calabrian chilies, but Eric used salami and gochujang (Korean chili paste), layered with smoked navel fat. I’m not usually a pâté person but it was GOOD and it made me see salami in a whole new light!
It ain’t easy doing something new and exciting with salami every year so I was grateful for the inspo! I made my own version which is not too spicy, a bit smoky, salty and all around deeeelicious.
I recommend serving with crusty bread, crackers, lots of pickles and plenty of wine, of course. Happy Purim!!
14oz. Abeles & Heymann salami, roughy chopped
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil
2 tbsp oil from the jar of sundried tomatoes
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce (such as Huy Fong) or sriracha, to taste
Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
If there’s anything my blog is known for, it’s probably my drunken hasselback salami. Clearly people like the stuff. They like to hang it, they like to dry it, and man do they like to eat it!
If I’m ever in need of a fun recipe idea, I can just stick salami in there somewhere and chances are, it will go viral. My salami babka from last year was such a hit that Abeles & Heymann decided to print it on their actual packaging and, come on, how many of you have NOT tried the hasselback version, even the stores are selling it now! What is it with Jews and salami?
Well, I don’t know, but I’ll tell you this – I’m knee deep in cookbook editing and when I realized that Chanukah was just a few days away, I knew I had to come up with a latke recipe, and pronto. I’ve always got A&H salami in the fridge, and when I opened the door for some inspiration, it hit me. Why not add it to my potato latkes for some seriously salty delicious flavor? I decided to try grating it in my food processor so I could incorporate the salami in fully, and it processed really well! The result is a super fun take on a traditional latke that you will truly enjoy.
Unlike other traditional Jewish foods, I find that people are really purists about their latkes. They don’t want to sub sweet potatoes for potatoes, they’re not interested in the healthier baked versions, no. They want crispy, fried potato latkes that leave your fingers all greasy and your house and clothes smelling like Chanukah.
So here’s the thing: these latkes are a fun twist on the traditional, but they still respect the humble potato latke and they taste pretty classic too, except for some hints of salami.
And if you’re wondering why there’s a carrot in my frying pan, it’s the most brilliant frying hack ever! Somehow the carrot soaks up all the gunk in the oil and it keeps your oil clean throughout frying. You must give it a try!
4 large russet potatoes, peeled
1 small white onion, grated
7oz. Abeles & Heymann salami (see note)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons matza meal
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
spicy honey mustard aioli, for serving (recipe follows) pickled onions, optional
Using the shredding blade of your food processor, grate the potatoes and onion and place in a bowl of water to prevent browning. Cut the salami into chunks and grate in the food processor.
Drain the potatoes and place into a large piece of cheesecloth. Wrap it tightly and squeeze out as much juice as possible into a large mixing bowl. Let the juice sit for a bit so the potato starch settles to the bottom. Slowly pour the liquid out of the bowl (into the sink), leaving the potato starch in the bowl. Add grated salami, eggs, matza meal, salt and pepper to the starch and stir to combine. Mix in the grated potatoes and onions. Heat oil in a skillet and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
TIP: Use 1/4 cup measuring cup to portion out the latkes. This makes the latkes the same size. When you scoop out the batter into the pan, use the flat underside of the measuring cup to press down on the latke and spread it out. This creates super crispy edges.
NOTE: 7oz. yields a very mild salami flavor, for a more pronounced salami taste, use the entire 14oz. package.
Yield: approximately 15 medium latkes.
Spicy Honey Mustard Aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or, to taste
It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here at BIB, with lots of Purim demos, cooking classes and recipe writing! I always say that calling myself BUSY IN BROOKLYN was like a self-fulfilling-prophecy, because when I started this blog I wasn’t half as busy as I am nowadays. But busy is good and I am so thankful for it! Except when all that busying around turns into a sinus infection, and my recipe testing is put on hold because I can’t taste anything! I had amazing plans for a new hamantasch this week, but my taste buds won’t cooperate. And even though I can barely lift my head off my pillow, I’ve got my third demo this week in a couple of hours! So, I THANK GOD for this amazing recipe that I developed for a local magazine’s Purim issue last year, so at least I have something to share!
You all know that I’ve taken on a BIB tradition to share a salami recipe every year. I once heard that people have a tradition to eat salami on Purim because it is hung, like Haman (!!!). Who knows if it’s true, but it’s definitely fun. And it was especially thrilling when my DRUNKEN HASSELBACK SALAMI went crazy viral two years ago (I can’t believe it’s so old!). I always meet readers at demos, or even on the street who tell me that it’s become a weekly tradition for them. I just love that!
For this year, here’s something a bit more homey and family-friendly for your Purim meal. I’m sure this will become a staple in your family for the holidays too. Happy Purim!
1 9″ deep dish pie crust, frozen
1 1/2 cups chopped salami (approximately 8 oz.)
1 large onion, thinly sliced into half rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. button mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk (see note)
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil, as needed
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the frozen pie crust for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned.
Saute the salami until it begins to crisp and renders some of its fat. Remove the salami from the pan and set aside. Add the onions and saute until golden and caramelized, adding more oil as needed. If your pan starts to burn, add a splash of water. When onions are soft and caramelized, add garlic and continue to saute until fragrant. Stir in the mushrooms and saute until they release all of their moisture and there is no liquid left in the pan. Set aside to cool.
Stir the salami into the vegetables and place the mixture on the bottom of the pie crust. In a bowl, mix the eggs with the coconut milk and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the filling. Place the quiche on a foil-lined baking sheet, in case of spillage, and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until the the filling is set. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
NOTE: I use coconut milk from the carton, which has a very mild coconut flavor that does not come through in the quiche. If you prefer not to use coconut milk, you may use soy milk, almond milk, or any creamy pareve milk.
MAKE AHEAD: Quiche may be made up to 3 days in advance. Serve cold or reheat gently at 250 degrees.
VARIATION: You can also make individual quiches using mini pie crusts.
KITCHEN TIP: If your pie crust begins to brown, but your filling is not yet set, cover the edges loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning.
And I didn’t have much choice either. I mean, there’s pretty much no outdoing my drunken hasselback salami, so I had to go there. And by there I mean, the deep fryer.
Ever since I read about a not-so-well-known custom to eat salami on Purim (to commemorate the hanging of HAMAN…hanging….salami….get it?), I’ve been banging out salami recipes for the holiday. Truth be told, I have no idea if this is a real thing, or if I happened upon a practical joke, but regardless, this taking-salami-to-the-next-level challenge has been a blast.
And it’s so ironic because I literally hated salami growing up. My mom used to feed us salami sandwiches for lunch every Friday afternoon. She’d smear ketchup on rye and top it with thick slices of salami all wrapped up in a foil package so we could take it along as we played in the courtyard of our building. One at a time, we’d chuck those salami sandwiches down the incinerator, and my mom was none the wiser! Fast forward some 20+ years and here. I. am.
Now when I think about this recipe, I have to admit, it’s like the ultimate guy food. It’s got beer, salami and it’s fried. I mean, seriously, could you ask for anything more?
Apparently you can. Because, not only did I come up with the ultimate finger food, I even made a beer dipping sauce, just to take the whole Purim thing over the top. Because that’s the way I roll. Or hang, apparently.
I’ve never made mustard from scratch before so I was excited to give it a try. There’s something really interesting I discovered about mustard in this recipe creation process. When mustard is exposed to heat, it loses it’s potency. (Same goes for horseradish and wasabi by the way)! I learned this by trying the same mustard recipe two ways – one used a bit more beer so I reduced it over heat, and the other I blended in the food processor to thicken, using no heat. The results were astounding! The blended mustard is super hot, while the cooked mustard is mildly sweet with little heat. Pretty awesome, right?
When the crispy salami and beer mustard meet, it’s the ultimate marriage. And it’s not just any salami, by the way. I used my favorite brand, Abeles & Heymann, because after visiting their factory a few months ago, and watching the salami-making process with my own eyes, I know their salami is made with the highest quality ingredients from start to finish!
And I wouldn’t think of coating that salami in anything less than the perfect crispy batter – which is what you get from beer batter. It’s super light and crisp, and let’s not forget, easy! Beer batter is just flour and beer and that’s it. Because the salami is packed with flavor, I don’t add much else, but you can always add a pinch of cayenne for some heat, if you’d like.
Now that we have the ultimate party food, lets discuss the Jewish holiday of Purim for a second! The Purim celebration is based upon the biblical Book of Esther, which recounts the story of Queen Esther and how she saved the Jewish people from annihilation at the hands of Haman (after whom the HAMANtasch is named). We celebrate with a festive feast (where these salami chips must make an appearance!), sending food gifts to family and friends, drinking until we don’t know the difference between the evil HAMAN and the righteous MOREDECHAI, and of course, dressing up as characters in the Purim story.
Growing up, Purim was always our favorite holiday, and you can imagine why. We got to dress up, deliver goodies to our friends and gorge on hamantaschen. As an adult, I love to put my own twist on the holiday with creative themes on my food gifts, fun twists on holiday cocktails and of course, crazy spins on salami!
If you live in Brooklyn, Queens or The Five Towns, be sure to check out my other salami recipe in the all new FYI Magazine! I’m so excited to join the team of FYI as the food editor, with a column for Fast & Fresh recipes as well as a Nutritious and Delicious section. This month, I’ve got a quick and easy salami quiche as well as a Persian twist on dried fruit truffles – perfect for your Purim feast or your Mishloach Manos.
Whether you choose to take on the Purim salami tradition or not, just remember to have fun and be joyous, because that’s what this holiday is all about! :) Happy Purim!
Beer Battered Salami Chips
1 16oz. Abeles & Heymann salami, sliced
1 cup all purpose flour
1 12oz. bottle of beer, ale preferred
pinch of salt
Add the flour and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour in the beer and stir until a thick batter forms. It should be a little thicker than pancake batter. You’ll need most of the bottle of beer (with about 1/2 cup left over).
Heat a few inches of oil in a saucepan to 350 degrees.
Dip the salami slices in the beer batter and place in the hot oil. Fry a few at a time until golden brown on one side, and then flip over to brown the other side. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider and drain on paper towels. To keep the salami chips crisp, remove from the paper towels and place on a rack.
Beer Mustard, Two Ways
1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
1 12 oz. beer, ale preferred
3 tbsp mustard powder
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 heaping tbsp honey
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp salt
For sweet mustard, soak the mustard seeds in the beer overnight. Place the mustard seeds with the soaking liquid and all the remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to break up the bubbles. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Stir occasionally, so the mustard seeds don’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. Be sure not to thicken the mustard too much as it will thicken more once cooled.
For spicy mustard (VERY SPICY!), soak the mustard seeds in 1 cup of beer (not the whole bottle) overnight. Place the mustard seeds with the soaking liquid and the remaining ingredients (excluding the leftover beer) in a food processor. Blend until the mustard seeds break down and the mixture thickens (it will thicken more in the fridge).
For either mustard, store in a glass jar in the fridge, giving it a few days for the flavors to meld and develop.
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Salami making at the Abeles & Heymann factory with owner, Seth Levitt! This is the first and last time you will see me in a lab coat and hairnet ;)
I bet you’ve never heard of anything like drunken hasselback salami. Hasselback potatoes, maybe. What are they? Well back in the 1940’s, a dish of whole potatoes cut to resemble an accordion was first served at the Hasselbacken restaurant in Stockholm. Cutting the potatoes this way results in a soft and creamy interior with crisped and browned edges.
Hasselback potatoes have been popular ever since, most commonly served in a simple preparation of butter and salt. I put my own twist on these a while back, using sweet potatoes & apples for a sweet variation.
For Purim, I decided to really bring some hassel back with a sweet & savory combo of salami in an apricot-brand glaze. Since salami is a food that is traditionally hung to dry, many have a custom to eat it on Purim to commemorate the hanging of Haman.
There’s no question that this drunken hasselback salami will be the star of your Purim meal! I couldn’t resist adding some booze to the sauce to really take it over the top. Coming from a former salami-averter, trust me when I tell you that this stuff will please even the pickiest palate. Salami is NOT my thing, or I should say, WAS not my thing – until I ate this. My husband and kids gobbled it up, sopping up the extra sauce with the pulled salami chips.
The first time I tried to make hasselback potatoes, I inadvertently sliced all the way through so many times that my accordion potato morphed into a gratin. But after stumbling upon the coolest hasselback trick, I haven’t screwed up a single potato since! Simply place a chopstick on either side of the potato (or salami) and slice. The knife will stop cutting when it hits the chopstick for perfect accordions every time! How cool is that?
This finger-licking hasselback experiment has got my wheels turning. I’m already dreaming up lots of other accordion-style treats – stay tuned!
Drunken Hasselback Salami
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
3 tbsp brandy*
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp brown sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add all ingredients besides for salami to a pot and whisk over medium heat until jam is melted and mixture begins to boil and thicken. Remove the wrapper from the salami and place on a cutting board with chopsticks on either side. Holding the salami down with one hand, slice into thin, even slices (don’t worry, the chopsticks will ensure that you don’t slice all the way through).
Generously brush the salami with the sauce, making sure to get in between all the slices. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, basting every 10-15 minutes, until the salami is browned and crispy around the edges. Serve warm with leftover sauce for dipping.
NOTE: You will notice that the salami will begin to turn and split open in a certain spot. When basting, split the salami open in different areas so it can brown evenly all over instead of just one spot.
*If you do not have brandy, you may use bourbon instead.