If cooking is magic, this salami is the ultimate sleight of hand. Look at it. Admire its perfectly burnished top, the way it gracefully tapers at both ends. Peel off a slice, pop it into your mouth and let a flood of salty-sweet cured beef flavor overwhelm your palate. Go in for seconds. Ask yourself: What is this thing?
I'll tell you, but first I'll warn you: What you're about to read is a tiny bit uncouth. So before we continue, take a moment to imagine how extraordinarily delicious that slice was and how your guests clamored greedily around the platter, chanting More! More! while you watch the big game. Because that will happen. And when it does, you will smile on the sly, and you will think of how simple, inexpensive and slightly gross it was to make.
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This "thing" is a whole beef salami (preferably Hebrew National) that you will slice not quite all the way through and slather with a mixture of grape jelly (about a quarter cup) and yellow mustard (about 2 tablespoons). You will mix the jelly and the mustard together before brushing it on the meat, and you will think, Why am I doing this? You will put the salami on a tinfoil-covered baking sheet and bake it at 375°. After about half an hour, your kitchen will start to fill with an intoxicating aroma of sugar and fat. Fifteen minutes later, when the salami is bubbling and crisp and a deep dark shade of brown on top, you will pull it from the oven.
You'll serve it whole, as finger food for football games, with a little bowl of mustard or barbecue sauce, and toothpicks for your more civilized guests. They will gobble it quickly, while the beef is still hot and slicked with grease, and ask aloud how you made it. Don't give it away—a good magician never reveals her tricks.
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