Sunday, November 27, 2011

Prosciutto Cotto / Spalla Cotta

Prosciutto cotto is just an Italian cooked ham. Not really all that different from good American cooked hams, except maybe for the spicing. Technically, what I made here wasn’t a prosciutto cotto, as I didn’t use a prosciutto, I used a “spalla” or shoulder. No matter, this same method applies to both. I used a shoulder because that’s what was available at the market, and because a whole cooked deboned ham would have been a little unwieldy.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Salam D’La Duja - Tasting


The Salam D’la Duja has been ready for a little while now, but I haven’t had a chance to post about it. The one pictured here on the left is about 10 months old. I tried some at 4 months and the flavor is pretty similar. This one might be a little more intense.




Sunday, September 18, 2011

Boccia al Finocchio – Tasting

The boccia al finocchio has been ready for a while, but I’m just not getting around to writing about it.
I apparently forgot to take notes on timing so I can’t say how long it stayed in the curing chamber, nor how much loss there was when I took it out! I’m assuming it was 2 or so months and about 35% loss.
Either way, I’ve been enjoying it quite a lot!
It’s got GREAT flavor, but the fennel is not strong enough, in fact, I can barely taste it. It could easily use twice as much next time.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fiocco – Ready to eat

The poor brother of the Culatello is ready! As described in the Culatello post, the Fiocco is made from the small muscle of the hog leg. It’s cured in the exact same way as the Culatello is, but because its quite a bit smaller it takes a lot less to dry.
This piece was in the curing chamber for 4 months and lost about 40-42% of it’s weight.

Let's look at some interior pictures, shall we?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

For anyone is still reading....

I've been busy, really busy. I acutally have a couple things I need to post about, I just have to find some time to do it. One of them is quite interesting, so stick around if you're still there!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Salame Gentile – Ready to Eat

After a long 4+ months drying in the curing chamber, the salame Gentile is finally ready.
It took over 4 months for it to lose 40% of its weight; it’s still quite soft, as Gentile should be.
It’s normally hard to achieve such a long drying time with salami because they would tend to be way too hard by the end of 3-4 months unless they're huge in diameter. This one isn't that big in diameter and the reason it was possible this salame so long is because it was stuffed in a hog bung. The bung is a good 2-3mm thick with  tremendous amount of fat in it which slows the drying considerably, making the wait for a first tasty nearly unbearable.
It's finally done, so let's eat!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coppa – Tasting


Well, that took a while. The whole coppa that I found at my local market just came out of the curing chamber.



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Salame di Mugnano – Tasting

IMG_2663 The Salame di Mugnano is finally ready! It took longer than I thought it was going to, but sometimes these things have a mind of their own. This was hung Jan 1st after smoking, and it out April 4th, so 3 months. I kept it in the curing chamber this long because I wanted to achieve the same texture as the ones I ate in Italy last summer; pretty firm. It lost 42% of its weight over these 3 months.
This was "head to head" salame making between Scott at Sausage Debauchery and I. We thought through this together and decided to both make our salami then trade to see how interpretations could vary the results.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

La Boccia al Finocchio

IMG_2189Boccia translates to “ball”, and the reason for this name should be obvious given its shape. This isn’t a salame that’s classic of anywhere, as far as I know.  The round shape is from the fact that it’s stuffed in a hog bladder. I’m guessing any salame paste can be put in it, I chose to use a fennel based one.


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.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Salame Gentile

If one were to translate Salame Gentile into English, it would be "Gentle Salame", but the direct translation is meaningless. The name derives from the use of the hog bung as the casing. In Italian the hog bung is called the "budello genile". A hog bung is the last piece of the intestine in the pig, and it has very thick walls and a lot of fat within the membrane layers. The hog bung being so thick and fatty keeps the salame very soft and allows for a long drying time without over hardening, often up to and over 90 days, which for a salame of this diameter (80mm or so) is a long time. It's also supposed to give the salame a particular flavor.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Salam d'la Duja

I enjoy researching and making salami that are sort of obscure, maybe not to the region they're from in Italy, but certainly here in the US. This one qualifies as one for sure.

Piemonte is a region that is close to my heart in that that's where my Italian side of the family is from; my Dad, Nonna, Nonno, and Zii.  I like finding cured meats from that area as a way to stay connected to my family. This salume is from the eastern area of Piemonte.

Salam d'la Duja was born out of the necessity to cure meats in an area where the humidity is generally too high, not allowing for proper drying and preservation. Because of the high humidity the salami are dried for just a short while and then buried in liquid lard inside a clay pot, called a Duja. They're kept here for anywhere from 3 months to a year. They stay soft and age in the lard becoming spicier as they age. I've actually never eaten one in Italy, I can't explain why not, so I'll really have no idea how mine compares to the real stuff.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Nasone and Cotechino Tasting

I'm a week late for the traditional Italian new years sausage, cotechino, but no big deal. Had some friends over for our 8th annual cotechino party and of course had to serve the Nasone too!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Salame di Capra - Goat Salame Tasting Notes

The goat salame is ready! They smell amazing. I'm very pleased with how they turned out.

Take a look below for more details on how they tasted.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Salame di Mugnano

While I was back in Italy this past September I ate all kinds of great cured meats. The variety of different salami available is really mind boggling. I was at a standard grocery store near home, and picked up a couple different ones, including a Salame di Mugnano. One I hadn't had before. It had a fantastic smell, with a hint of smokiness. Upon eating it it was rich, and lightly smoked with just a little hint of heat.
As soon as I got home I started researching this particular salame. It was actually relatively easy finding out about it; a lean, large grain salame that's lightly smoked from Mugnano del Cardinale in Campania. Much harder was actually finding any information on the formula that might be used to make it. So I made up my own. This, I'm sure, is the first of many tries to get this right.