Amazon is always ahead, damn them! They’d been advertising an August 27 release date for my new book, Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing, but suddenly I’m getting twitpics from people who have ordered and already received their copy! The video isn’t ready, but you folks clearly are, so here it is, Brian Polcyn’s and my Salumi, the follow-up to our previous love song to animal fat and salt. The new book focuses on dry-curing meat, both whole muscles, such as coppa and pancetta, and ground meat, such as salami. Charcuterie encompassed a broad range of preserved foods, including pâtés and confits. With a couple of exceptions (mortadella, the sopressata of Tuscany, which is the Italian version of french fromage de tête), salumi refers to salted, dried meats that are, when done well, with well-fed, well-raised pigs, Read On »

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Still slammed after weeks away. Part of todays work is going over 2nd pass proofs of Salumi, now scheduled for August 27th publication. First pass illustrations all out of place. Also need to check all salt concentrations. Very important! The above was taken sampling American and smuggled Italian salumi after a trip there. —MR Originally posted June 24, 2010 On our trip to Italy, Brian Polcyn and I saw a lot of new cuts we weren’t familiar with, so as soon as we returned, we made plans to break down a couple of pigs Italian style, bringing in chef Jay Denham, who was recently back from five months staging in Italy.  We wanted to see how he broke a half animal into primals and we also wanted to learn the culatello cut.  Jay had spent Read On »

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On a recent trip to Charleston, SC, to promote Twenty, my first stop, thanks to a tweet from Ideas In Food was to the kitchen of Cypress, where chef Craig Deihl gave me a truly impressive tasting of his dry cured meats and sausages. Damn they were good—highly recommend you wonderful folks in Charleston stop in for a taste. One of the items he sliced for us he called “knuckle.” Now one of the hardest parts of understanding salumi is getting a handle on terminology. When I inquired further he used the Italian term, fiocco, which is a name for a boned portion of the ham (the other larger boned cut is called culatello). The above cut is from that same area of the ham, but what really matters to me is that there is a Read On »

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Many have asked when our book, Salumi, a follow up or really continuation of our Charcuterie, will be out.  I finished the rewrite earlier this summer, and Brian, chef-owner of Forest Grill, my co-author whom I first wrote about in Soul of a Chef, finished up recipe testing, so the book is now slated for a summer 2012 publication. The book is devoted solely to the Italian craft of dry-curing meat.  Salumi is the general term for these meats.  Above were some trials I dried in the wine cellar of my dear friend, JD SULLIVAN!!!  It proved to be ideal, and a nice patina of beneficial mold grew naturally on the salame above. In the foreground is guanciale, dry-cured jowl.  I’m slicing some coppa; also on the board, tied, is lonza (dry-cured loin) and a small Read On »

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On Saturday I picked up a hog from the North Union Farmers Market, about 330 pounds with the head and some other requested parts. “They’re big, long and slippery,” James had told us.  Just getting each half into the back of our jeep was an effort.  The first step was to break the pig down for salumi into its three main sections just so we could store the creature in a friend’s walk-in: shoulder, middle and ham.  Then back to work all day Sunday to break it all down into salumi cuts and sausage.  It took about six of us five hours to bone out the whole hog, isolate the muscles for curing, get everything on the salt and get the first of the salamis stuffed and hanging, about 20 pounds of it. And still Read On »

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