Deli meats, cheeses and marinated vegetables create delicious summer meals that are literally cool to prepare. With thoughtful selection, these meals also can be nutritious.
Supermarkets and small grocers usually include deli counters and veggie stations designed to entertain most palates. If you want something more upscale, stop at Trinacria on Paca Street in Baltimore. This Italian deli is a small paradise of domestic and imported ham, salami and prosciutto, plus a comparable array of domestic and imported cheeses. Their imported Genoa salami and imported sharp provolone are sure favorites. A glance at the assortment of olives will compel you to linger in a state of indecision about which ones and how much. The same goes for the shelves of crusty breads, tucked into one corner of this compact store. To round out your meal, look over the selection of wines and bakery goods. It’s truly a delightful shopping experience.
If you don’t want to head into Baltimore, go to Wegmans. Their deli case includes roasted, smoked and seasoned meats. Recommendations include the brown sugar ham off-the-bone, the turkey off-the bone and the buffalo chicken. Slice the meat thin or slice it thick so you can cut it into chunks. You might also enjoy their packaged soppressatta or flavored salamis. For your next stop, visit the cheese counter. Here’s your challenge: Try, just try to make a decision in less than four minutes. The selection is vast and mouth-watering, and it rivals any stand-alone cheese shop. Adjacent to the cheeses you can choose among trays of marinated mushrooms, balsamic cioppino onions, pepper shooters and much more. Wegmans credibly boasts of wonderful breads and rolls, whole grains or white flour, but never bland. Consider the olive oil/rosemary bread or one of the ciabattas to complement your deli dinner.
For a delicious though more limiting experience, go find a good Jewish deli. EdMart and Gourmet Again are favorites in Pikesville and Attman’s has long lines for its deli and restaurant in Baltimore. New York Deli in Columbia serves an exceptional store-made corned beef. If you ever find Jewish corned beef that’s not cut from commercial packaging, don’t pass up the chance to order it. Other Jewish deli goodies include pastrami and tongue. Side dishes usually consist of potato salad, macaroni salad, cole slaw and the essential pickle. If you’re willing to turn on your toaster oven, pick up a few potato knishes.
July has been a wickedly hot month and who knows what’s ahead. Put deli on your week’s menu and take a break from serious meal planning and heavy-duty clean-up.