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Capicola

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Capicola, or coppa, is a traditional Neapolitan Italian cold cut (salume) made from pork shoulder or neck, and dry-cured whole. The name coppa is Italian for nape, while capicola comes from capo—head—and collo—neck—of a pig.

Left: Whole coarse Coppa. A balanced quantity of white fat is important for flavour and softness.

It is similar to the more widely known cured ham, prosciutto, because they are both pork-derived cold-cuts that are used in similar dishes. However, the technical definition of ham is the thigh and buttocks of a pig (or boar) slaughtered for meat, whereas capicola is solely meat from the shoulder or neck.

In its production, capicola is first lightly seasoned, often with red and sometimes white wine, garlic, and a variety of herbs and spices, which differ depending on region. The meat is then salted (and was traditionally massaged) and stuffed into a natural casing, and hung for up to six months to cure. Differences in flavor can also depend on what type of wood is used for smoking, as well as what breed of pig is selected. It is essentially the pork counterpart of the air dried, cured beef bresaola. There is also a less common version which is cooked, called coppa cotta.

Capicola is esteemed for its delicate flavor and tender, fatty texture, and is often more expensive than most other salumi. In many countries, it is often sold as a gourmet food item. It is usually sliced thin for use in antipasto or sandwiches such as muffulettas, Italian subs, and panini, as well as some traditional Italian pizza.

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