Thursday, December 23, 2010

Violino di Capra - Goat Prosciutto

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Prosciutto, while commonly associated with a pig leg, can really be made with anything. In this case; a goat leg. This is a a typical salume from Valchiavenna, just a few kilometers from Switzerland. Normally, this is made from the leg of a mountain goat. Unfortunately, mountain goats seem to be in short supply here in Atlanta, so I used what I could find.

The name of the product is pretty interesting. It's called a Violino di Capra, which translated to "goat violin". It has this name because the consumer is meant to hold the cured goat leg like a violin and slice it with a knife as if it we're a violin bow. You can see a good picture of that here. It's passed from diner to diner for each person to slice at will. I vividly remember eating this as a kid in Italy, and distinctly remember the really gamey, bracing flavor and the chewy tough meat. I've been looking forward to making it for a while. I've read that by tradition once the Violino is started, people cannot leave the table until the whole thing is finished! Recipes are guarded very jealously, passed on father to son, so it looks like I'll have to come up with my own recipe. Of course I'll share it here!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Cotechino 2010

It's that time of year again, when cotechino makes its yearly appearance, in preparation for the New Years feast! I've explained the story of cotechino a couple of times before, both in 2008 and 2009. This year I was fortunate enough to have some concia, or spice mixture, from a fellow Italian in San Francisco. He gets it from his uncle in Italy, and he kindly sent me a pack to try. Sorry, i don't know what's in it, but i think it's the usual spice suspects which you can see on previous years posts.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Meet the Nasone

I'm sure many of you have heard of Zampone, the foreleg of a pig which has been "emptied" and then used as a "bag" for cotechino filling. It's really quite delicious. It's called a Zampone because it's a derivative of the word "zampa" which means "trotter" in Italian.

Well, I decided to invent my own insaccato (stuffed charcuterie/cured meat). I'm naming it the Nasone. I'm going to apply for IGP or DOP status.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Salame di Capra - Goat Salame

As I've previously said, while pork is certainly the main, delicious, animal that is used in cured meats in Italy, pretty much everything else is too. What that "everything else" is is based on the region. In Piemonte, specifically the Canavese area, as well as in Valcamonica in Lombardia, goat is sometimes used in making of salame.
This is my 1st attempt at a goat salame.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Coppa - Whole

A little while ago I was roaming the isles at my local Asian grocery store, and in the pork section i noticed some thinly cut, very round steaks labeled "pork steak". It was really heavily marbled, and I thought to myself, "wow, that looks like a coppa steak....i wonder if I can get the whole piece that these steaks were cut from". I went up to the meat counter and asked if this part was the neck or collar of the pig. He told me it was (although I'm not certain he understood my question), and he said he had a whole one.

You might remember my issue with procuring coppa muscles, having to buy whole shoulders and carving out the coppa from them, in the hope that the butcher hadn't mangled it. Amazingly, what i was able to buy as "pork steak" seemed to be a whole coppa, and on top of that, it was nicely trimmed into the correct shape for me! I couldn't wait to cure it.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hey, look what I found!!

One of the main problems with the Kitchenaid grinder is the proprietary grinder plates that go with it (standalone grinders use standard plates that come in a billion sizes). There are really only 2 sizes...."fine" and "very fine". The "fine" grinder grinder plate is 1/4", which is pretty good for many salami, the "very fine" is not particularly useful except for a few things. So I had a friend in a machine shop make me a larger 7/16" plate (someone on ebay makes them, take a look there, they're a great deal at $15 a piece). It works really well, but it's a just a HAIR too big. The other day I checked out Ebay to see if anyone had made any other custom plates, and imagine my surprise when I ran into a Kitchenaid "coarse" grinder plate, which didn't look like my "coarse" grinder plate!
It appears that at some point, quite a few years ago, Kitchenaid decided that for home use, a 1/4" coarse plate would be more useful than the one they had back then in the kit, a 3/8" one. I would agree that 1/4" is more useful for stuff like burger...but 3/8" i think would be nice to have for salame. I got it for a bargain $12!

Here is the plate I just got in the mail. I think it'll be a perfect size for many salami...excited to use it.

My advice to all those with a KA grinder is to keep an eye open at thrift stores, flea markets or Ebay for an old style "coarse" Kitchenaid grinder plate.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guanciale - Finally ready

After 2 months in the curing chamber, starting at 54 deg. F and 75% RH and dropping to 54 F and 65% RH after the 1st month, the guanciale is finally ready. It has a nice firmness and nice aroma.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I've been a slacker!

As is blatantly obvious by the lack of posting here on Curedmeats, i've been slacking in my duties. That doesn't mean i don't have anything in my fridge that i'm eating, I do, but nothing has been notable enough to blog about. It's just been re-making the standards like coppa and pancetta.

I'm taking a trip back home to Italy shortly where i'll have a chance to indulge in all the delicious cured meats, which will hopefully be of inspiration when i get back.

I do know that the 1st project when I return is going to be Nduja. The Calabrian ultra-hot, soft, spreadable salame that's been all the rage lately. I have a piece from Spilinga, Calabria where Nduja originates, which my parents brought me from Italy, which is amazing, I can see what all the hub-bub is about. I've also tried a few locally (US) made ones, and have been left less than impressed, in fact, I thought some were downright bad, including some BIG name ones which I won't mention.

If you're interested in giving Nduja a try, check out Scott's store @ Sausage Debauchery. That's where my Calabrian chilis came from, and what i'll be using for mine.

So, hang tight with me until I return, reinvigorated and rejuvenated from the Homeland!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lardo D'Arnad - Tasting

After almost 90 long days the lardo is done. There really wasn't much to it; no need to control temperature, humidity or anything else really. Just waiting. So the waiting is over, and it's time to eat!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Guanciale - Off to the chamber.

The guanciale has been curing in salt for about 3.5 weeks, so it was time for it to go into the drying chamber. I gave it a quick rinse, strung it, and hung it in the chamber, which is currently at 55 deg. F and about 70-75% RH.

I'll give it at least a month in there.


Thursday, May 13, 2010


I've made guanciale before, so i'm not going to go into too many details about its awesomeness. It's basically like pancetta, except different. The fat on a jowl is very different to regular fat. It has a rather odd texture to it, it almost has a "crunch" to it. It's much richer than pancetta too.
Thanks to Jimmy at Eatitatlanta blog, I found myself in possession of a jowl from my favorite pork place of all, Caw Caw Creek.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lardo D'Arnad

This is a pretty requested recipe, and I'm finally getting around to making a batch, so I hope this answers the numerous questions I've gotten about it.

Lardo in Italian means lard or fatback. It's cured in numerous areas of Italy, with the most famous being in Tuscany, where it's known as Lardo di Colonnata. This recipe is a recreation of a lardo style made in Arnad in the Valle D'Aosta region, or at least my rendition of this lardo. The fatback is cured and then sliced thinly and eating as a salume.

The hardest part of this recipe is procuring a piece of fatback that's thick enough to use. You won't be able to find it at a supermarket, you'll have to source it from your friendly local farmer. The rest is easy. It's just brine cured, not dry cured at all.


Friday, April 9, 2010

An idea for the lamb prosciutto

The latest cured meat I've made is lamb prosciutto. It's some outstanding stuff. Very gamey and extremely tasty. It's so gamey that it would really be too much in a sandwich. So I thought I'd give it a try dressed the same way a bresaola could be dressed.

You can see it here on the left. Dressed with some good olive oil, some lemon, black pepper and some Parmigiano Reggiano shavings. Really amazing. The tangy cheese and the gamey lamb go really well together. The lemon cuts through the richness, and the oil makes everything unctuous.

If you've made cured lamb, give this a try!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lamb Prosciutto - Tasting notes

The lamb prosciutto, well one of them, is ready. Sure it doesn't look like the nicest thing in the world, but does it taste good?

Keep reading.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lamb Prosciutto - Into the curing chamber

The lamb prosciutto spent about 30 days in its salt cure, and it was time to move it into the curing chamber to dry. I left it longer than i normally would, but I was traveling; no harm though...i don't think. About 13 days into the cure I opened the container it was in, and flipped and massaged the meat. There was a cup or so of liquid that had been pulled out of the meat. By the end of the cure, the container was dry. I guess all that brine got reabsorbed into the lamb. It smelled AWESOME.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lamb Prosciutto

If you say "prosciutto" to someone, automatically the first thing they think of is a cured pig leg. In reality prosciutto could be ageneric term for a cured leg of any animal. It could be pig, goat; also known as a "violino di capra", or in my case, lamb, which would be "prosciutto d'agnello". I can't claim to have thought of this preparation first, the idea was put into my head when I saw a portion of a show on TV filed at Salumi in Seattle. They have a lamb prosciutto, and I said , "why couldn't I do that?". Well, I could. And I did. You really have to like lamb though, the curing process intensifies the flavor, so if you're not a lamb lover, you won't like this probably.

I've made this with a bone-in leg of lamb, but I prefer it boneless, it's a little easier to slice, and a little easier to handle.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Cheap humidity controllers

I've previously posted about humidity control, and how to control a humidifier inside the fridge. Back then, the only control i could find that was easy to integrate was quite expensive, about $120. Just recently I happened upon (read somewhere, or someone told me, i don't remember) a much cheaper controller. $50! They're available at Grainger.

They have one that is a humidifier controller and a dehumidifier controller. They look pretty nice! The disadvantage of these versus the THC-1 is that each one controls EITHER humidification OR dehumidification. The THC-1 offers a switch.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New supplier of Italian goods!

Fellow cured meats aficionado Scott, over at Sausage Debauchery, has become so enamored with cured meats that he's decided he wants to help others with their supplies, and while he's at it, with other Italian goods. He's deciding what to carry, so go take a look over at his blog and let him know! I know I want some of that Calabrese hot chili pepper for my future Nduja endeavor!

Good luck Scott!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cotechino 2009

Well, it's New Years, or it was just last week, so of course I had to make cotechino, the traditional Italian New Years sausage. I've made it before, and iIreally didn't change the formulation much, but i did make some changes to the process.