Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lonzino Affumicato or Loin speck

Another salume inspired by my visit to Sudtirol. This was one I found on the shelves of every one of the several salumerie I frequented while there, and was eager to make it. I usually always have lonzino on hand as my wife enjoys it on a sandwich with a little fresh mozzarella. Seeing as I was running low, I decided to use a whole loin and make it 2 ways. This was initially designated for the Christmas Eve salumi plate. But, for some reason this loin decided it would take about 8 weeks to dry out as opposed to the usual 4-ish. Good thing........more for me. So, in true Sudtirol fashion, I cured this with caraway, anise and nutmeg, along with salt, pepper and cure #2 of course. Cured it for about 12 days, then cased it in a 4.5" beef bung. What separates this from lonzino is the cold smoke, hence the affumicato(smoked) designation. Still without the juniper wood dust they use in Sudtirol, I improvised again. Ground up juniper berries added to my hardwood dust does the trick. Cold smoking has become a non issue with these new cold smoking devices. It really is a breeze, once it gets lit, you can leave it alone for 12 hours or even more in some cases. This lonzino got 3 sessions for a total of about 36 hours of smoke. Seems a like quite a bit of smoke, but, honestly, it's not. While it can be tasted and it is pleasant and far from overwhelming, it still isn't as prominent as I tasted over there. Next time, I'll either try more smoke or more ground up juniper berries. Either way, I'm not complaining about how this one tasted, I'm pleased with it. I wish I could say at what percentage of weight loss I removed this, but, I mistakenly pulled it down prior to Christmas Eve to see if it could be cut. I knew it was far from ready, but, a little panic set in and I tried anyway. I know the common practice is 30% weight loss and it's ready, but, I prefer my lonzini a touch drier and harder than that. I believe 35-38% is a better number, for me anyway. Sliced very thinly it is very versatile and also delicious. My first Mangalitsa salame is ready, should be posted at the end of the week.

Monday, January 24, 2011


The elusive culatello. THE culatello is called Culatello di Zibello and is a DOP salume. Culatello di Zibello DOP is only made in a small geographic area in Emilia-Romagna near the Po river. It's salted and put away to cure for a couple days. Then some of the salt is scraped off, it gets re-salted along with the addition of black pepper. Then, it's rinsed with local red wine and cased in a bladder, then tied in a specific manner creating it's characteristic pear shape. It is aged for a period up to a year. I call Culatello elusive for several reasons. First off, it's not easy to harvest. Second, you basically wreck the entire leg to harvest it. 2 strikes off the bat, have to wreck a prosciutto and be able to harvest it. I have neither a leg I was willing to wreck nor the butchering skills necessary to harvest it. That's what friends are for, they say. Again, thanks to my friend who owns the salumeria and his father who makes about 20 prosciutti annually for the past 30 or so years, I was able to procure a leg I wanted to wreck :) AND, after showing him a couple pictures, he was able to harvest it in roughly 5 minutes. Salumi serendipity! He then tied it for me perfectly as well. Got home and uh-oh......realized culatello needs to be skinned. There is also something of a "tail" left over from the butchering process that needed to be removed. So, I had to cut the twine, then skin it, retie it, then remove that little tail. I then salted it(added some cure #2 as well). The picture you see is after initial salting, it's sitting in it's second salting along with the black pepper. It will be cased in a bladder at the end of the week after it's red wine bath. You ask what happens to the rest of the leg? Well, the bottom half of the leg, which would be akin to the hamstring is harvested to make fiocco/fiochetto, which I do have curing as well. The tail is used to make strolghino, which is a salame, as I was instructed by Jason. I'll try and post the finished and cased product at the end of the week. Mangalitsa 'Nduja and Salame Felino ready to come out any day. Look for them soon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mosefund Guanciale

Yes, more guanciale. Sorry it's not something more interesting. But, I think I keep getting better and better, because this one really looks dead on. Interesting how this was acquired. I rescued this this out of a lug full of scraps given to me by Mosefund Michael. Most was intended to be used for salame. I made 10lbs of 'nduja with Mangalitsa belly and jowl scraps. Made about 5lbs of Salame Felino with some shoulder and neck scraps with some scrap fatback. But, at the bottom of the lug, I swear this thing lit up like the suitcase from "Pulp Fiction." No way I was scrapping it. I'd actually been looking for a jowl since I returned from Italy. While in Rome, I went to Antica Norcineria Viola and purchased some guanciale. I had a nice discussion with the Norcino. He informed me that in Rome, they cure guanciale with only pepper. So, after some research when I got home. I discovered this is indeed true. It's actually referred to as guanciale amatriciano. I cured this with salt and cure #2.; I removed it from the cure mixture, rinsed it off and then covered it with a freshly ground black pepper and peperoncino powder mixture. Left it in the chamber for about a month. Just pulled it down last night and cut some up to make, believe it or not, amatriciana. Great, great stuff.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Salame Toscano

This is the second salame made with the remnants of cutting a speck from the leg. I only call this Salame Toscano because I used fennel pollen from Tuscany in it. I hadn't yet used fennel pollen in a salame and was eager to do so. This was my second salame made after my austerity pledge. So, all that went into this was salt, black, pepper, fennel pollen, cure #2, dextrose and F-LC starter. That's it, plain and simple. In my zealousness to use said fennel pollen, I may have gone just a bit overboard. It's a little strong of fennel. However, being a fennelphile, I'm delighted with it. If you're looking for subtlety, this formula isn't for you, more like a fennel freight train. Ha! It's really not as bad as I wrote, but, it sounds better that way. In all seriousness, there is a touch too much fennel pollen. Everything else was done status quo. Run twice through 1/2" plate of commercial grinder, mixed with pork backfat that I ground up while it was frozen solid(thank god for commercial grinders). Stuffed in beef middles, sprayed with mold solution and fermented at 70 degrees for about 72 hours. Hung in my overcrowded chamber at 52 degrees at about 77% humidity. These took about 5 weeks to really stiffen nicely. Next up, hoping my mangalitsa Salame di Felino, 'Nduja, lardo and guanciale are ready.