Pig's head, tongue, belly and stomach: what more could you want in an Italian cured meat? Well, if you actually didn't want any of that, you might want to stay away from soppressata -- an Italian pressed sausage whose delicious taste does not reveal its somewhat dodgy ingredient list.
But don't rush off and throw out your huge stash of soppressata, because what's in this meat depends largely on the region from which it comes. Some are made from the best cuts of the pig, such as the thigh; others, like the soppressata de Toscana (from Tuscany) are made from all the leftover parts of the pig -- which of course, are the least desirable cuts.
The custom of using the leftover bits and pieces of an animal is an old one, and it certainly isn't unique to soppressata. But somehow, it's always a surprise to learn that your favorite deli meat is not what you imagined it to be. To make soppressata de Toscana, the head is boiled for a few hours, and then picked clean to make the sausage (skin, meat, tongue, etc.). And while knowing what's in it might not make your mouth water, you can at least find solace knowing that little of the pig was wasted.
How do you feel about soppressata? Leave a comment.
WATCH: Tyler Florence Takes A Trip To The Deli