CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 17 Made in America: Part II - Page 91

A PROTEIN PRIMER FOR CHARCUTERIE CURE-IOUS ABOUT CURED MEATS? BY SMOKING GOOSE Although the word charcuterie springs from ancient French roots, today it represents tra- ditions that cross borders and centuries. Those traditions may have started out of neces- sity—to preserve proteins before cheap and easy refrigeration—but since the results just happen to be delicious, this historical chore has developed into a modern art. Today, menus and market shelves and recipes are liberally seasoned with cured meat curiosities. The best teacher is taste, of course, though we’ve assembled a quick primer to help recognize the top shelf products and organize our observations between bites. RAW RESOURCES Pig is prime though not alone in the field. Traditional and new cured meats encompass farm- raised and wild proteins: lamb, duck, rabbit, elk, boar and more. Seek out producers who go hog wild for more than pork. PREP PARAMETERS Salt and patience might be the extent of some of the oldest cured meat recipes. Now, char- cuterie employs fermentation, smoking, cooking, and more. Salumi inoculated with live cul- tures, bacon hanging in the smoker, cooked meats pulled and packed into pans or pastry: all these charcuterie methods provide essential preservation, and each produces different fla- vor profiles. Explore these diverse preparations by sampling smoked, cooked, cured, and fer- mented charcuterie. SHAPE UP When it comes to cured meats, one size does not fit all. The best butchers let the ingredients dictate the final product. Trust an artisan whose products are in different shapes and sizes. Narrow and wide salumi showcase coarse and fine grinds. Wrapping in bladders, caul fat, or belly highlights nose-to-tail technique and yields different textures. It takes more time and experience to refine these diverse methods, and that’s an investment with delicious dividends. THE KIDS THESE DAYS The classics deserve respect. Among these are products so precious that the European gov- ernment ruled to protect them with strict production guidelines. This is important, but so is innovation and experimentation. New makers who aren’t cutting corners while they craft their own new recipes deserve some time at the table. Sample their new flavors and learn the story behind their products to experience charcuterie’s past, present, and future. © Hundred-to-One LLC 2018. All rights reserved.