What it means
Since it literally means something from Calabria, the Italian region that encompasses the toe of the "boot," calabrese is variously applied to wines and vegetables. But it's increasingly used to denote Calabrian salami, a dry-cured pork sausage spiced with hot peppers.
The muggy Calabrian climate is perpetually inducing food to spoil, so the region long ago perfected preservation techniques such as oiling, salting, curing and smoking. Calabria's best-known cured meats, such as hot sopresseta and ndjua, run long on the chile peppers beloved around the southern Mediterranean, possibly because they were once rumored to ward off malaria.
Like calabrese, Calabrian peppers and Calabrian pepper oil are very popular pizza finishers on the West coast. DeSano's in Charleston serves the chiles on its Diavola pie.
Where we saw it
EVO (Wood-fired pizza with red pepper puree, wilted arugula, spicy calabrese, garlic confit, feta, mozarella, parmigiano-reggiano, $12/$14)
Where else you can try it
Barsa and Crust both put calabrese on their meat boards.
Where to buy it
You could sign up for Craig Deihl's artisan meat share program, and hope the gift pack includes calabrese, one of the 80 items in the Cypress chef's charcuterie repertoire. But a safer bet is to visit Mixson Market, which sells calabrese by the platter.
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