Saturday, December 19, 2009

12 Days of Cookbooks: Charcuterie

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing is next on my list for 12 days of cookbooks.  I've had the book for a few years, and I really wanted to make my own pancetta, and this year I finally got around to it.  And it rocks! (Michael Ruhlman was kind enough to sign my copy at the event with Thomas Keller)  This one would make a good gift for the guys.

I think there have been enough tainted food scares to create a healthy respect/hesitation for hanging curing meat at home, (I know I had to get over it), but the reality is, that an organic product, treated properly, and handled with sanitation in mind, IS probably safer than a lot of the so called food sold in supermarkets.

One of the items needed for curing, the so called 'pink salt' (because it is dyed pink), I ordered as Ruhlman recommends, from Butcher Packer,  and was stunned at how fast they filled the order and shipped it.

I think my order also got me on a mailing list for a catalog for sausage making,  that had me momentarily dreaming of buying industrial size smokers, and all kinds of crazy supplies, and maybe permanently smelling like garlic.

My memories of the delicious pork products from The Piggery, in New York, which offers a charcuterie CSA, also inspired me to get the book back out and get to work.  Seriously, imagine a CSA that provides 3-4 weeks of pork belly confit!  (I am working on Jeff Brunty to expand from chickens into pigs, but he hasn't totally come around to my way of thinking yet.  I'll keep on him). 

Now that I have a place to store the Kitchen-Aid mixer, it might be time to get the meat grinder attachment and move on to sausage making.  In the meantime, I am savoring every last bite of that pancetta, and looking forward to making another batch as soon as it's gone.  All hail the pig, indeed!

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing

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