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Carne Salada: Origins, Traditions, And Recipes

In addition to the splendid landscapes, nature, and genuinely enchanting villages, visiting Trentino also means immersing yourself in the flavors and aromas of a cuisine of great traditions characterized by exceptional dishes that make this region known and appreciated throughout the world. One of these symbolic dishes is carne salada, which is precisely one of those foods most decadent in tradition and history. Suffice it to say that carne salada has been one of the elements of Trentino gastronomy for several centuries now, so much so that it has been mentioned in some documents dating back to 1700.

Carne Salada: All The Flavor Of Trentino

Where does carne salada come from? This is an ancient practice, namely the preservation of beef, which is the raw material of carne salada. In this way, beef reserves could be consumed throughout the winter, ensuring enough food for the colder months. Nowadays, carne salada is considered, to all intents and purposes, a distinctive feature of the entire region, so much so that it has become a Trentino Quality Mark product. 

Like any typical product, carne salada is also offered in numerous variations. One of the most common is the meat of the Alpine gray breed. Still, in recent times, the carne salada of deer is also gaining some acceptance due to the fact that it manages to guarantee a more critical protein intake and is also tastier than the meat of beef. But how is carne salada prepared? What are the right moves to ensure that it can be served with all its unparalleled flavor? First of all, it is necessary to select the pieces of beef that you want to preserve. Once this selection has been made, each piece of meat must be mixed with salt and spices in order to compose the cure. 

It is precisely during this operation that the differences between the various butcher shops arise, given that each one chooses different methods but, above all, other ingredients, depending on their tastes. Among the foods most used for tanning, we find zinc, as well as sage, laurel, and juniper. Pepper and saltpeter are also widely used, and lemon peels are also often present. In some cases, a pinch of rosemary is also added. Regardless of the choice of one spice over another, what makes the difference is the quantity of sauce used to carry out the curing.

Subsequently, the carne salada is seasoned, and during this period, it is recommended to add some white wine (the suggestion that butchers often give is Traminer, ed.), which serves to avoid the drying up of the liquid that preserves the carne salada. After approximately 15-20 days, the carne salada is ready and can be used for a series of recipes that will really make even the many tourists who visit Trentino lick their chops every year. Carne salada can be consumed in two ways, also based on its thickness: some prefer it raw, very similar to carpaccio, or cooked on the grill. In both cases, the flavor is truly of the highest level.

Salad Meat, Pumpkin, And Moena Blu: A Triumph Of Taste

One of the most popular recipes is the one that involves the combination of carne salada and pumpkin, to which you must also add 150 grams of Moena Blu, a hard blue cheese with a strong flavor. The pumpkin must be cut into cubes and fried together with oil and onion for about 30 minutes (remember to cook with the lid on, ed.). Then, blend everything with a knob of butter and serve the pumpkin cream on the plate, placing the sliced, salted meat on top with the always pleasant addition of a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

The final additions to this dish are pumpkin seeds and, of course, Moana Blu, which can be crumbled onto the carne salada. Also very popular is the carne salada ragù, which is made by cutting the carne salada into cubes and frying them in a pan together with extra virgin olive oil and a little vinegar. The vegetables are instead stewed in a saucepan, together with oil and herbs. Once a concassè has been made from around 160 grams of tomatoes, we move on to assembling it (always in a casserole) with the vegetables and the salted meat, also adding around a pound of veal stock. The result will be a majestic ragù, which will be an exceptional condiment for your pasta.

Also Read: Venere Rice: All The Properties Of “Forbidden Rice”

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