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I Ate ALDI: Appleton Farms Gourmet Deli Selection

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I Ate Oklahoma is brought to you in part by:

I love ALDI. Unlike a trip to other grocery stores, I find myself looking forward to shopping at ALDI. There are always surprises. Brussels sprouts on the vine? Check. (I didn’t even realize they grew like that.) Some weird flavor of German-made noodles? Check.

It’s also deeply frustrating, like when you discover how much you love hot-smoked salmon and then you can never find it again. ALDIIIIIIIIIIIIII!

So, that’s my obsession and you, poor thing, must deal with my obsession occasionally finding its way to the website in a feature I refuse to call anything but I Ate ALDI.

Appleton Farms Gourmet Deli Selection

I’m not going to sit here and look you in the eye and tell you that all charcuterie are the same. For one thing, I cannot see your eyes. But also, charcuterie varies wildly in quality. That said, even lower quality cured meats are still delicious.

Appleton Farms, one of ALDI’s 10 billion house brands, focuses on meats. (They’re sometimes paired with Never Any!, the antibiotic- and hormone-free brand.) You can buy whole pre-cooked turkey breasts to slice and dice however you like or whole spiral-cut hams.

But the item I have returned to, time and again, is the delightfully unhealthy Gourmet Deli Selection. You get slices of pepper salami, hot capocollo and hot calabrese.

(Fun? Fact: Capocollo’s pronunciation is all over the place. On “The Sopranos,” Tony often called “gabagool.”)

Pepper salami shouldn’t be a life-changer for you. If Oscar Meyer packages it with round slices of processed turkey, you’ve at least been introduced. I find it a little silly that they refer to it as “peppered” when it’s not even wrapped in ground pepper. But, you know, slap it on a turkey sandwich and it’s got that extra pop of heat and spice you need to keep a sandwich interesting.

Capocollo is probably my favorite for non-sandwich uses, though it’s great in a sandwich, too. But if you’ve got crisp pears and a nice, ripe cheese, wrap up a bit of each in this slice of pork and you’ll be sending friends and co-workers postcards from Flavortown, USA.

While salami is a sausage, capocollo is made from a cured whole neck muscle, which is why you see identical sections of fat from slice to slice. The texture is a little stringier, because muscles, but it’s still a delight.

Hot Calabrese is a pork salami that gets its name from Calabria in southern Italy, where the recipe was made famous, and it’s notable for the level of spice in this “hot” sausage. Using Calabrese peppers, this dark-red salami packs a punch with plenty of heat.

If you’re cooking at home, I suggest chopping this up, sauteeing it to render some of that fat and adding the meat to a pasta sauce or use it as a pizza topping.

In sandwiches, you can swap this out for the peppered salami and it’s pretty similar but with just a touch more kick.

Before eating any of these, however, I would counsel you to take your omeprazole or whatever antacid you use. These cuts of meat are delicious, but they’re also going to repeat on you for the next 12-24 hours.

About the Author

Founder and Eater-in-Chief of I Ate Oklahoma, Greg Elwell has been reviewing restaurants and writing about Oklahoma’s food culture for more than a decade. Where a normal person orders one meal, this guy gets three. He is almost certainly going to die young and those who love him most are fairly ambivalent about it. You can email Greg at greg@iateoklahoma.com.

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