Friday, February 18, 2011

Culatello - The King of Cured Meats

If there is a King of salumi, it's definitely Culatello di Zibello. Many might think that honor belongs to Prosciutto di Parma, with it's 5 pointed crown branded onto it's skin, but in reality, those in the know, understand that Culatello is the true King.

Culatello is made from the large muscle mass in the rear leg of the pig. Creating it means destroying the possibility of  making a prosciutto. That, combined with it being a relatively small part of the whole leg, its tremendous aging time, the fact that it's the best part of the leg, and the expertise required to make it, make it one of the most expensive salumi in Italy, particularly if it adheres to the DOP regulations to be a Zibello culatello.

The flavor of culatello is indescribably delicious, but I'll try. It has a soft, supple texture similar to prosciutto, but a tiny bit dryer. The flavor is robust, and redolent of the 500 year old, humid, caves where they spend their 12 months drying. The pork flavor is the main thing you can taste (which is delicious because to adhere to the DOP certain criteria for raising the pigs have to be adhered to, and they must be pigs from either Lombardia or Emilia-Romagna), followed by the funk of the aging and the caves It's really something special. There is obviously no way I can recreate the flavor from the 500 year old caves and the native molds, but I'm hoping I can create something similar and delicious.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Bresaola di Cervo - Deer Bresaola

Everyone knows beef's a common salume that's generally a good starting place for people new to the hobby. In talking to Scott at Sausage Debauchery, I told him I was going to make a deer salame from a piece of deer roast a coworker gave me from a hunt. He intelligently suggested making a deer bresaola since I had such a nice piece and it would have been a waste to grind it up! I followed his advice, and this is what I ended up with. If you have a hunter friend who is willing to share his kill, I say give it a try!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Violino di Capra - Goat prosciutto tasting

The Violino di Capra is ready! It didn't take that long to dry. I forgot to write down when it went into the curing chamber, but I estimate it it's been about 40 days. Not long, but it's a very lean meat, and not very thick, so I'm not surprised it didn't take long.