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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.

Broad Beans
Peas (twice as many as the broad beans)
Hungarian Salami
Mint
Basil
Parmesan
Pine Nuts (toasting optional)
Olive Oil
Lemon juice
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.

To make the dressing, blanch the peas and put half of them in a food processor and puree, adding enough olive oil to loosen to a thick dressing.

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.

To assemble put the rest of the peas and broad beans into a bowl with the Hungarian Salami and pine nuts and stir through the dressing.

This salad is a great accompaniment to barbecued lamb.

Comments

Comment from Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite
Time December 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Looks wonderful – both the salad and the chorizo. Gorgeous!

Comment from Mosaica
Time December 2, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Oh, Nic! Not only does the food look so tasty, your photographs are really excellent; you’ve got a great eye. Gotta say: yours is not a good blog to eat before breakfast; that broad bean salad is the ticket!

Comment from cathy
Time December 7, 2011 at 6:20 am

That salad looks fantastic.

Comment from Jaie
Time December 8, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Just catching up on your posts and this one made me very hungry (and I’ve already had dinner). Love the photo of a fridge full of hanging salami

Comment from annabelle for KimberlyBelle.com
Time December 17, 2011 at 10:30 am

I just found your blog for the first time and Charcutepalooza sounds like such a wonderful idea! Can I ask what has been your favorite so far?

Comment from Miss Kimbers @ Fruit Salad and Mixed Veg
Time December 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Wow, you make your own meats! That’s impressive!
Just hope no one from customs reads this;)

Comment from christy
Time January 16, 2012 at 5:13 am

color me impressed. i have thought about making salami for years but have been very intimidated…perhaps it is time to get myself a fridge and start! thanks for the inspiration. found you through foodgawker.

Comment from nic
Time January 16, 2012 at 5:40 am

Thanks for stopping by Christy, glad you found me! I have thoroughly enjoyed my home curing adventure! You should definitely give it a go. Bacon and duck prosciutto are the best places to start, then work up from there.

Comment from Joyce Wilkie
Time July 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm

‘It was quite a palaver trying to get hold of the Australian equivalent of Bactoferm’
So how did you get it and what is it called.
We are doing the nose to tail thing with home grown, home killed and home consumed pigs and I am struggling with the fermenting agents needed for dried sausages. Currently I am just making my chorizo without any additives but family and friends worry . . . !

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