Tag Archives: Columbus Salame

Skillet Pizza with Caramelized Fennel, Onions and Salame

fennel pizza tastefood

~ Skillet Pizza with Caramelized Fennel, Onion and Finocchiona Salame ~

I am a sucker for fennel. I love its licorice notes, which add a depth of flavor to any dish or food product it graces. A while back I was invited to participate in a Sandwich Showdown sponsored by Columbus Salame where the task was to create a sandwich using some of Columbus’ newest artisan products. It was then I discovered their Finocchiona salame, a dry Italian salame fragrant with fennel seed, and it instantly became my favorite. I became obsessed with creating a sandwich which highlighted the anise notes of the salame – even to the point of bartering for a precious vial of fennel pollen to use as an extra ingredient. So, I was not surprised to learn  that Columbus’ Finocchiona was a Good Foods Award winner this year. When they asked me to create another recipe for them with Finocchiona to celebrate, I was more than happy to do so. I even had some fennel pollen.

I often make homemade pizza with my pizza stone and an uber-hot oven or grill. With this recipe, I decided to try something different and used a cast-iron skillet instead. It’s another great way to fire up a pizza, and an easy technique if you don’t have a pizza stone. This recipe may be adapted to use with a pizza stone.

fennel pizza slice

Skillet Pizza with Caramelized Fennel, Onion & Finocchiona Salame

Potatoes are an optional ingredient- add or omit to your taste – they add a hearty and rustic component to the pizza.  Use your favorite prepared pizza dough for this recipe. (A recipe may be found here).

Makes 1 (12-inch) pizza.

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium fennel bulb, fronds removed, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small yukon gold potato, very thinly sliced, 1/8-inch thick (optional)
8 ounces prepared pizza dough
1 mozzarella ball, about 7 ounces, thinly sliced
4 ounces thinly sliced fennel salame
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
Chopped Italian parsley
Fennel pollen (optional)

Whisk 2 tablespoons oil and garlic together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch oven-proof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat. Add fennel and onion. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and  red chili flakes. Saute until fennel brightens in color and edges of fennel and onions begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Optional step: If using using potatoes, add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Arrange potatoes in one layer in skillet. Sprinkle with salt. Cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Transfer to a plate.

Heat oven broiler. Stretch out the dough to a 12-inch round. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and swirl around to coat. Lay dough in skillet. Cook over medium heat until the bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the dough. While the dough continues to cook, brush cooked side with reserved garlic oil. Sprinkle with a little salt. Lay the mozzarella over the dough. Top with potatoes if using. Scatter fennel and onions all over and then top with salame. Sprinkle parmigiano over the pizza and add extra red pepper flakes if desired. When the bottom of the pizza is golden brown, transfer the skillet to oven. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove and transfer to a cutting board. Sprinkle with parsley and fennel pollen, if using.

Salame, Figs, Fennel and a Sandwich Showdown

  Figs, Fennel Salami, Goat Cheese, Arugula, Apple-Fennel Slaw
plus 1 Mystery Ingredient

Yesterday I participated in “TopWichSF” a sandwich-showdown hosted by San Francisco’s Colombus Salame and Sean Timberlake, author of Hedonia and founder of Punk Domestics. I am a big fan of Columbus products, and was more than pleased to be 1 of 3 bloggers invited to this event to promote Columbus’ new line of Farm to Fork Naturals salame. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect, outside on the sunny terrace of Hotel Vitale’s Cafe Americano, overlooking the San Francisco Embarcadero in the company of my formidable competition, John Mitzewich and Michael Procopio.

To begin with, Sean had created a sampling of small bites he created using Columbus products for us to taste. We were then introduced to the Colombus company, and given a little back ground on its 100 year history and the intricacies of flavoring and shaping various salame. I didn’t realize how important a role the casings play in distinguishing flavor – and, apparently, size does matter.


Before we donned our aprons, we were whisked across the street via Pedi-Cabs (picture a bicycle rickshaw with crossfit drivers) to the San Francisco Ferry Building, a bastion of glorious food purveyors, restaurants and specialty shops. We were given ten dollars and ten minutes to purchase the secret ingredient of our choice which would catapult our sandwiches to the highest level and propel one of us bloggers to the winning title. We then had a brief yet scenic trip back to the hotel where we returned to our battle stations on the patio, providing extra entertainment for the restaurant patrons at the nearby tables.

In 20 fast minutes, we had to create our sandwich masterpieces and plate for 5 esteemed judges from Chow, Tasting Table, SFWeekly, YumSugar and Columbus. No time to get nervous. And no time to taste my sandwich either – the time just flew by. After the judges compared notes and tallied scores, the winner was … John! He made a smoked turkey and soppressata sandwich embelished with a pluot and pinenut relish and harissa (no wonder). Michael’s  sandwich was beyond creative with grilled turkey and soppressata with apples, slathered in  bone marrow butter. (These guys are good). As for me, I kept things fresh and made a fennel salami, fig and goat cheese sandwich topped with fennel-apple slaw and a sprinkle of fennel pollen (my secret ingredient). John generously donated his cash prize to the San Francisco Food Bank, and I think we all won by experiencing a fun and fabulous day and opportunity to meet a few friends in the blogging community and the friendly faces behind Columbus Salame.

As for my sandwich, I’ve recreated it here – mostly for you, but also for me, since I never had a chance to take a bite of the one I made yesterday. Buon appetito!

Fennel, Fig and Salami Sandwich with Goat Cheese

Many specialty stores will carry fennel pollen with their spices, but don’t despair if you can’t find it. A little sprinkle definitely adds an extra boost of flavor, but this sandwich is equally delicious without. Alternatively, add 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon to the oil in place of the pollen. Makes one sandwich.

Mustard Fennel Oil:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1/4 teaspoon fennel pollen
Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Apple Fennel Slaw:
1/2 small green or fuji apple, thinly sliced in small matchsticks
1/2 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt

1 ciabatta roll

2.5 ounces soft, fresh goat cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon fennel pollen, or to taste
1 – 2 figs, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 ounces thinly sliced fennel salami
Small handful fresh arugula leaves

Make the Mustard-Fennel Oil:
Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Make the Apple-Slaw:
Toss all of the ingredients together in another small bowl. Set aside.

Assemble sandwich:
Horizontally slice the ciabatta roll in half. Spread the bottom half with the goat cheese. Sprinkle with black pepper and fennel pollen. Arrange the figs over the cheese in one layer. Top with 2 layers of overlapping fennel salami slices. Top the salami with arugula, then top the arugula with some of the apple-fennel slaw (you may not need all of it). Spread the cut side of the top half of the ciabatta with the Mustard-Fennel Oil and cover the sandwich. Eat immediately.

White Peach, Almond and Arugula Salad with a side of Salume

~ White Peaches, Almonds, Arugula, Mint, Thyme, Parmigiano ~

Summer food is simple food. Fresh salads are frequent centerpieces on our dinner table. Little else is needed except an assortment of cheese, salumi and a chilled glass of wine to round out the meal when no-cooking is advised. This salad is inspired by the sweetly perfumed white peaches and feisty mint that vied for my attention this morning at the local farmer’s market. It was perfectly offset by a selection of salame I recently recieved from  Columbus Salame with a selection of artisan and classic salame – perfectly timed for al fresco summer dining.  Continue reading White Peach, Almond and Arugula Salad