Synopses & Reviews
CHARCUTERIE--a culinary specialty that originally referred to the creation of pork products such as salami, sausages, and prosciutto--is true food craftsmanship, the art of turning preserved food into items of beauty and taste. Today the term encompasses a vast range of preparations, most of which involve salting, cooking, smoking, and drying. In addition to providing classic recipes for sausages, terrines, and pâtés, Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn expand the definition to include anything preserved or prepared ahead such as Mediterranean olive and vegetable rillettes, duck confit, and pickles and sauerkraut. Ruhlman, coauthor of , and Polcyn, an expert charcuterie instructor at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan, present 125 recipes that are both intriguing to professionals and accessible to home cooks, including salted, airdried ham; Maryland crab, scallop, and saffron terrine; Da Bomb breakfast sausage; mortadella and soppressata; and even spicy smoked almonds.
"Without the faintest hint of apology, Ruhlman and Polcyn present an arsenal of recipes that take hours, and sometimes days, to prepare; are loaded with fat; and, if ill-prepared, can lead to botulism. The result is one of the most intriguing and important cookbooks published this year. Ruhlman (The Soul of a Chef) is a food poet, and the pig is his muse. On witnessing a plate of cold cuts in Italy, he is awed by 'the way the sunlight hit the fat of the dried meats, the way it glistened, the beauty of the meat.' He relates and refines the work of Polcyn, a chef-instructor at a college in Livonia, Mich., who butchers a whole hog 'every couple weeks for his students.' Together, they make holy the art of stuffing a sausage, the brining of a corned beef and the poaching of a salted meat in its own fat. An extensive chapter on pts and terrines is entitled 'The Cinderella Meat Loaf' and runs the gamut from exotic Venison Terrine with Dried Cherries to hearty English Pork Pie with a crust made from both lard and butter. And while there's no shortage of lyricism, science plays an equally important role. Everyone knows salt is a preservative, for example, but here we learn exactly how it does its job. And a section on safety issues weighs the dangers of nitrites and explains the difference between good white mold and the dangerous, green, fuzzy stuff. Line drawings. Agent, Elizabeth Kaplan. (Nov. 21)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In addition to providing 125 classic recipes for sausages, terrines, and pates, the authors expand the definition of "charcuterie" to include anything preserved or prepared ahead such as Mediterranean olive and vegetable rillettes, duck confit, and pickles and sauerkraut.
The only book for home cooks offering a complete introduction to the craft.
About the Author
Brian Polcyn is chef/owner of Forest Grill in Birmingham, MI; Cinco Lagos in Milford, MI; and a professor of charcuterie at SchoolCraft College in Livonia, MI.Michael Ruhlman has authored six nonfiction books, including The Soul of a Chef and The Making of a Chef. He lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.