When I was a kid growing up in San Francisco, it was not uncommon for my birthday dinner at home to consist of Chinese roast duck with plum sauce, followed by a St. Honore cake decked out with mini cream puffs.
Because Chinatown and North Beach bump up against one another, my Mom would often trek after work to pick up provisions for dinner from a nearby Chinese deli, then stroll over to an Italian bakery to buy my favorite cake.
Part Chinese, part Italian – it made perfect sense. And it was a most delicious way to celebrate. So much so that when the folks at Columbus Craft Meats invited me to create a recipe using one of their premium salami, I immediately thought of fried rice. Columbus was established in 1917 in North Beach, long before today’s craft salumi craze took hold. It’s what I grew up with, tucked into sandwiches or just nibbled by the slice out of hand.
This fried rice is culinary fusion in the best sense. Normally, I make my fried rice with lap cheung, a cured Chinese sausage that has a nice sweetness. Columbus’ Crespone salame has a similar rich, buttery taste without so much sweetness. It’s made of antibiotic-free pork that’s seasoned with pepper, garlic and sherry.
Instead of the usual green onions in the fried rice, I used chives, parsley and basil for a fresh Mediterranean flair. Diced red pepper adds another Italian touch along with a lovely hit of color.
Is it Italian? Is it Chinese? It’s the best of both worlds. And whether you choose to eat it with chopsticks or a fork, you’ll enjoy it heartily.
Chinese-Italian Fried Rice
(Serves 4 as a main course with veggies; or 6 as a side dish)
2 cups of Jasmine rice, cooked, then refrigerated overnight (about 6 cups of rice when cooked)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup diced red pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 ½ cups (a scant 11 ounces) diced Columbus Crespone, casing trimmed off
3 tablespoons diced chives
1 bunch basil leaves, julienned
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Sesame oil, to taste
Heat a large wok or frying pan over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add beaten eggs, scrambling them in the pan until just cooked. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, break up the eggs I into small pieces, then remove to a bowl. Set aside.
Get your container of rice from the fridge, and using a fork, break up any clumps. Set aside.
Wipe out the pan, heat on medium-high heat, then add another 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir-fry the red pepper for about a minute, then add the garlic, stirring for another minute. Add the rice, stirring frequently to toast the grains. Season with the soy sauce.
Add Crespone salame and combine, followed by the eggs. Turn off the heat and stir in the chives, basil and parsley. Drizzle on a little sesame oil, to taste. Spoon into individual serving bowls or into a large serving bowl.
— Carolyn Jung
(Thank you to Columbus Foods for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.)