Plus it has that chili sauce and grape jelly glaze that's inexplicably awesome
I love brunch at home. My home, your home, any gathering that begins late morning and includes an array of savory and sweet delectables and an excuse for day drinking is okay in my book. The restaurants that do it well are packed to the rafters, the servers are slammed, and the goal is to get you in and out and get the tables turned. For me, brunch isn’t about a meal, but an experience. Slow relaxed grazing, visiting and laughing, a calm comforting hang with family or good friends, the kind of meal that can last for hours. You can’t do that out, you have to do that at home.
The key to hosting a really great brunch is to have a variety of foods, and if possible, a good combination of familiar and comforting, and maybe a little something surprising.
There are some foods I find unbearably nostalgic. My grandmother’s braised brisket at the holidays. Little cocktail meatballs. Chocolate milk. And one that is a little bit unusual: baked glazed salami.
When I was growing up, the whole glazed salami graced many a buffet table. At a lunchtime or evening fete, it was served with cocktail rye or small rolls to make little salami sliders. But it works perfectly at brunch, in lieu of a pile of bacon or breakfast sausages. Because you roast it whole, and slice to order, it stays hot much longer on a buffet, while bacon and sausage get cold fast on an open platter or dry out in a chafing dish. And the leftovers, if you have any, make for amazing sandwiches.
The glazing is up to you. Bottled barbecue sauce or honey mustard both work great. But my favorite is the classic combination I grew up with: Heinz chili sauce mixed with some sort of jam or jelly. My folks used grape jelly, and there is not a thing wrong with that. But my three favorites are fig jam, balsamic onion jam, or hot pepper jelly. The first for a good sweet and sour feel, the second for more of an umami complexity, and the last for a bit of punch.
Whatever you use to glaze your salami, I promise it will be a welcome addition to your next brunch.
Baked Glazed Salami
1 whole 2 lb. soft salami (I use Vienna Beef, but you use what you love.)
1 cup glaze of your choice (honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or custom glaze, recipe below)
1. Heat your oven to 350°F.
2. Remove the plastic casing from your salami, and lightly score on both sides at one-inch intervals on the diagonal. Place the scored salami on a sheet pan that you have lined with aluminum foil and lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Roast the salami for 20 minutes.
3. Pour about a third of your glaze of choice generously over the salami, but try not to let too much puddle on the pan. Bake this for another 10 minutes. Glaze again and continue to bake for about another ten minutes. The glaze should be a deep color and the salami should be heated through, registering about 160°F on a meat thermometer. Take out of the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve on a cutting board with a carving set for people to serve themselves, with extra sauce on side. If you are serving as a breakfast meat, you won’t need anything else. If you want people to be able to make little sandwiches, cocktail rye bread and small rolls are great, especially Hawaiian rolls or pretzel rolls.
1 bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
1 small jar jam or jelly of your choice, fig, apricot, grape, onion and hot pepper are all really delicious choices.
1/2-1 tablespoon ground mustard powder
1. In a small saucepan, heat chili sauce, half the jar of jelly or jam of your choice, and half of the mustard until the jelly melts.
2. Taste. It should be sweet and sour with a slight heat from the mustard. Need more heat? Add the rest of the mustard. Need more sweet? Add more jam or jelly. If it doesn’t taste balanced you can add a pinch of salt. Heat until the glaze is slightly reduced and thickened, then set aside until you need it.