Food & Drink

Shopper’s Dictionary: Pastrami

What is it? A Yiddish word that derives from the Romanian verb pastra (to preserve), pastrami is traditionally beef that has been brined, spiced, smoked and steamed, although other proteins can be substituted.

Spices commonly used to make pastrami include black pepper, paprika, allspice, cloves, mustard seed, coriander and garlic.

A hot pastrami sandwich on Jewish rye bread with mustard is classic, as are variations like the Rachel (with cole slaw and Russian dressing).

As the name suggests, pastrami arose as a way to preserve meat before the invention of refrigeration.

Where can I find it? Publix and Winn-Dixie delis sell pastrami for about $9 a pound. Josh’s Deli in Surfside (9517 Harding Ave.) serves homemade, hand-cut pastrami sandwiches for $14.