Capicola to Italians, capocollo to Americans, capicolla to Canadians, “gabagoul” to Tony Soprano — whatever you call it, capicola is made from the neck of the pig, coppa, prized for its perfect ratio of 30 percent fat to 70 percent lean, making the meat moist and tender. At Olympic Provisions, it’s cured for 10 days, then coated in black pepper, fennel seed, coriander, and anise and slow-roasted to produce a tender ham. (We have also included two other options if you want to mix it up.) If you can roast beef, you can pull this off with no trouble at all. Yes, but what to do with it? Well, one can’t make a proper Italian sub (or, I’d say, any proper lunchbox sandwich) without capicola.

Makes
1.1 kg

Preparation

30min

Cooking

2hr

Skill level

Mid
By
Average: 2.9 (277 votes)
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Ingredients

Cure

  • 1.4 kg pork coppa
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp (35 g) fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp (4 g) crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp (4 g) curing salt

 

Classic rub

  • 1 tsp (4 g) crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp (10 g) black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp (1.6 g) fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp (1.6 g) aniseed

 

Sweet rub

  • 1 tsp (4 g) coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp (1 g) fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp (5 g) black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp (2 g) crushed red pepper flakes

 

Herb rub

  • 1 tsp (5 g) black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp (4 g) chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp (4 g) chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp (4.5 g) chopped garlic

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Curing time 10 days

Chilling time 4 hours

To make the cure, grind the fine sea salt, sugar, red pepper, and curing salt using a mortar and pestle.

Place the pork in a large bowl and massage the cure into the pork, really coating it and working it into the cracks and crannies. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap (or put into a big zipper-top bag), place on a dish, and refrigerate for 5 days. Then flip it over so that the top side is down and refrigerate for another 5 days.

After 10 days of curing, remove the coppa from the refrigerator and unwrap it. Rinse under cold water until all particles of salt and spice have been removed. Allow it to dry while you prep your rub.

Prepare the rub of your choice by combining all the ingredients in a mortar and grinding with the pestle for about 2 minutes. You’re looking for a coarse texture, not too fine. Pour the rub into a large bowl and add the meat, turning to coat it well.

Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Place a roasting pan filled halfway with water in the middle rack of the oven to create humidity. Put the meat into the ham net and tie the net closed on both ends. Place the meat in a roasting pan and cook for 1 hour on the top rack. Turn the meat over and cook for 1 hour longer. Check the internal temperature: you want it to reach 155°F (68°C). When the capicola is done, it should be evenly roasted and smell so wildly good that you can’t wait to slice and dig in. But not yet! Instead, remove it from the oven, transfer to a plate, and refrigerate, uncovered, for 3 to 4 hours, until the capicola’s internal temp is below 39°F (4°C). Remove the capicola from the refrigerator, slice thinly, and serve, either solo or atop a sandwich or pizza. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, the unsliced capicola will keep for 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

 

Recipe reprinted with permission from Olympia Provisions: Cured Meats and Tales from an American Charcuterie by Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, and imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

 

View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.