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In the Charcuterie: The Fatted Calf's Guide to Making Sausage, Salumi, Pates, Roasts, Confits, and Other Meaty Goodsby Taylor Boetticher
Introduction: Come on in
When you first walk through the doors of the charcuterie, it feels as if you’ve entered an enchanted world of meaty wonders. The aroma of crispy-skinned pork roast fills the shop, inviting you to try a bite. Our cases are filled with pâtés, salumi, sausages, roasts, and terrines—and when the meat counter crew offers you a slice of the fennel-flecked sbriciolona and a piece of headcheese, it’s hard to say no. Walk back into our kitchen and you’ll smell spices toasting, bones roasting, and broths simmering. Someone is churning out coils of fresh sausage from the hand-cranked stuffer, and someone else is hanging huge, freshly-cased cotechino on hooks for fermentation. We’re hand-shredding a veritable vat of duck rillettes, seasoning it with freshly chopped thyme, then packing it into jars and sealing each with a creamy layer of duck fat. Bacon has just finished in the smoker! Go ahead and tear a hot piece off the end of the glistening slab. Peer into our curing room where row upon row of salami, guanciale, and pancetta hang quietly, patiently, enrobed in a delicate snowy bloom of mold.
Our book, In the Charcuterie, has something for everyone, whether you’re a skeptical ex-vegan, scimitar-wielding novice, or seasoned old pro. When you walk into a butcher’s shop and spy a pork shoulder in the case, we want you to see more than just a hunk of meat. We want you to see all of the possibilities that the pork shoulder has to offer—from shoulder chops and stuffed roasts to picnic hams and salami. We want you, knife in hand, to experience what it is like to break a whole animal into its parts. We want to share with you not only the knowledge of butchering and cooking we have accumulated through our work, but also the respect we have for the raw ingredients, the satisfaction we derive from working in the kitchen, and the pleasure of sitting at the table with friends and family to eat what you have created. We want people to better understand the processes of charcuterie by participating in it. So we invite you to slip into our greasy clogs for just a little while. In this book, we’ll ask you to plunge your hands into a freshly ground farce to make sausage, inhale the intense perfume of a spice blend, confidently carve a roast, and more. And at the end, you get to enjoy the delicious results of your labor and passion.
We cook a lot, not just in the charcuterie but at home as well. The methods and recipes in this book are based on our professional experience of working in a charcuterie for roughly a decade—but they are also written with the home cook in mind. Quite a few of the recipes and methods presented here are simple to master, and we hope that they’ll edge their way into your culinary repertoire with ease. Others are more challenging, multistepped processes that require several days or even weeks.
Charcuterie is a discipline that requires patience. Allowing plenty of time and space is the key to successful smoking, curing, and terrine- or sausage-making. The gratification is far from immediate, and may seem out-of-sync with our modern way of life. But we believe that there is a place for these meaty meditations: they can teach us truths about history, community, sustainability, and self-sufficiency. With In the Charcuterie, we want you to take the same pleasure from butchering, cooking, and preserving your meat as you do savoring it at the table.
After a long transcontinental flight with missed connections and a jarring car ride from Nice, we finally arrived in adorable Alba too late for lunch. We found one tiny restaurant about to shut its doors for the afternoon that took pity on us. The kitchen was officially closed, but the staff fixed us a plate of carne cruda, a slightly intimidating heap of hand-cut raw beef drizzled with olive oil and accompanied with a lemon wedge. It was a love-at-first-bite moment, and to our surprise, we polished it off with gusto, then proceeded to eat our weight in various incarnations of carne cruda throughout Piedmont. Both well-trimmed sirloin and tenderloin, two cuts that are lean, flavorful, and tender, work well in this recipe. It is crucial to use fresh high-quality beef and to cut the meat by hand. To ensure a small, uniform dice, chill the beef thoroughly beforehand and use a sturdy, sharp chef’s knife. Crisp flatbreads, crostini, or halved hard-boiled eggs make excellent accompaniments. Serves 6 as an hors d’oeuvre or 4 as a first course
1 pound (450 g) lean beef sirloin or tenderloin, well chilled
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (such as Maldon or fleur de sel)
1/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Generous handful of arugula, cut into
1/3 cup (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
Trim any silver skin, gristle, or large pieces of fat from the exterior of the beef, then cut into 1/4-inch (6 mm) cubes. Place the beef in a bowl. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and half of the arugula and fold them into the beef to mix evenly. Stir in the olive oil and taste for seasoning.
To serve, mound the beef mixture onto a large plate. Garnish with the remaining arugula and drizzle with olive oil.
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Cooking and Food » By Ingredient » Meats » General