Charcutepalooza #11 Curing
Eleven down one to go. I can’t quite believe how much I have learnt in the last year: from bacon to corned beef, sausages to terrine, I have turned often cheap cuts of meat into some amazing, meaty delights. And this month is no different, presenting the “piece de resistance” the salami. This month we were asked to make something that requires curing. For the apprentice challenge cure a sausage such as saucisson sec or chorizo and for the charcuterie challenge cure a whole piece of meat such as bresaola or lonzino. Now this year for me has been all about learning something new. I have cured bresaola earlier in the year with mixed success. The small piece of kangaroo fillet and beef fillet I cured were fabulous, there just wasn’t enough of them, but when I tried to upscale the beef it went mouldy and sadly I had to bin my large expensive piece of beef.
As you can imagine that has put me off curing expensive cuts of meat for a little while, but the one thing I really did want to make this year was cured chorizo. I have made a couple of varieties of fresh chorizo this year (Spanish and Mexican) but I have been desperate to try the real deal, and this was my chance. As I was prepping all the ingredients for the curing challenge I went to the cupboard to get the sweet paprika out of the cupboard when I discovered the tin was practically empty.
This was a disaster.
In the last twelve months I have used the entire contents of the superior quality, sweet paprika that dad smuggled through Australian customs last year for Christmas! (thanks dad, I’ve really enjoyed it!). No time to source some more high quality Spanish paprika so I rifled through the book and found a recipe for Tuscan Salami. I would substitute the paprika with fennel and there you have it, a salami ready to be hung.
It was quite a palaver trying to get hold of the Australian equivalent of Bactoferm, so once my work colleagues took delivery of the goods and they were safely stored in the work freezer I really had to make the most of it. So alongside the Tuscan salami I also made some Hungarian Salami. This also involved Paprika, but it was Paprika of the Hungarian variety which I had plenty of in the cupboard for some reason.
I stuffed most of the salami mixture into natural casings, but I had a synthetic case that I thought I would try out and also a net, so the curing fridge was well and truly stuffed with a range of home cured goods.
The natural casings were ready first – when I say ready, I mean they had lost 30% of their original weight. So what do you do with home cured meat? Well the obvious answer is just eat it. Once I was over eating salami, I decided the Hungarian salami would make the perfect pea and broad bean salad, and the Tuscan variety would make the perfect topping for pizza.
I love pizza at the best of times, but there is something very special about using your own home cured Salami. When I was making the mixtures for the two different salami, it was difficult to believe how distinctive they would taste.
Here is my recipe for the broad bean salad, adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe to suit the flavours of the Hungarian Salami. It’s difficult to quantify the ingredients for this recipe as it is very much a bit of this and a bit of that to suit your taste. You can’t really get a salad wrong.
Peas (twice as many as the broad beans)
Pine Nuts (toasting optional)
Salt and Pepper
Start by blanching the broad beans and peeling them to remove the outer tough skin and set aside. Chop the salami into small cubes and fry until crisp and set aside.
Season the dressing with a handful of grated Parmesan, salt pepper and lemon juice to taste. Chop the mint and basil and add to the dressing.