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Adventures Cravings Culture Restaurants

14 Underrated Charcuterie Cuts To Track Down And Add To Your Boards

If you haven’t heard of charcuterie by now, it’s probably already at your local gastropub, ready for you to give it a try. The cured meat craze has swept across the country in recent years, to the point where most trendy establishments have at least one or two boards on their menus.

Whether you pair them with quality cheeses and wine or just eat the meats by themselves, it’s poppin’ to be popping a few slices into your mouth prior to the entree.

So far, the most common and ubiquitous charcuterie we’re seeing include salamis and prosciuttos, both of which are delicious in their own rights. There is, however, a whole host of other cooked and cured meats that can be featured on these platters, meats that even those with basic knowledge of charcuterie have yet to witness.

Whether you’re building your own at the nearby butcher shop, or have the opportunity to select some unique cuts on the menu, these are a few different charcuterie you should track down. More than just edgy meats that nobody around you has tried, these cuts are treats as delectable as advertised, or in some cases, even more so.

Coppa di Testa

Not many butchers or meat shops make their own coppa di testa anymore, but those that do, make it a real treat. According to partner Steve Sabicer of Jonathan Gold-renowned Electric City Butcher, it is made by rolling up and cooking an entire deboned pig’s head sous vide-style in Italian spices. You can individually taste each part: the soft and fatty jowl, the gelatinous ear, the tender tongue, and even the snout. It is sliced paper-thin, but each sliver comes with a unique variety of tastes and textures.

Sremska

“Sremska” is actually just the Serbian name for sausage, and is not assigned to a particularly special cut. According to meat expert Claudiu Giorgioni from Orange County’s Goodies in the Pantry, the sausage is traditionally smoked and dried. Made with pork and beef, it is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika, which gives the meat a bright red hue.

Biltong

This is a jerky-like charcuterie you may want to get ready to start seeing everywhere. Industry experts have been naming biltong as one of the popular items to watch for this year as dried meat snacks grow in popularity. Hailing from Southern Africa, Biltong is cured then air-dried before being sliced paper thin. There’s a special machine used to get it to the right thickness, and it should melt in your mouth when you place a slice on your tongue.

Game Meat Pastrami

We all know beef as the meat of choice for pastrami, but that does not mean other animals can be cured and smoked in a similar fashion. At Goodies in the Pantry, for example, Giorgioni will make pastrami out of just about anything: Pork tenderloin, rabbit, goose, venison, and even antelope, which you can see pictured above.

Speck

Prosciutto speck shares a lot of similarities with its more famous cousin, prosciutto di parma. Both are salted, spiced and cured for a long period of time, and both come from pork legs. Unlike prosciutto di parma, however, speck goes through a smoking process, which imparts a different flavor and texture to the meat. It also predominantly comes from the top round of the pork hind leg, whereas prosciutto is usually a whole one.

Lomo

Widely popular in Spain, lomo is air-cured pork tenderloin. It can be done with or without the thick cap of fat you see in the one pictured above, which adds loads of flavor and creaminess to the meat. If you’re in Spain and looking for a cured meat feast, this is a tasty, budget-friendly alternative to jamon iberico, even if the lomo is made from Iberian pigs itself.

Sujuk

There’s several ways to spell this spicy beef sausage, including sudzuka, sujuk, sucuk, and others. Popular across the Middle East and Balkans regions, its cumin, garlic, and red pepper are the predominant flavors you’ll find no matter where you are tasting sujuk. It tends to be dried for several weeks before being sold, and is especially good on flatbreads like lahmajoun.

Culatello

Culatello is known by many as the “king of cured meats” because of its intense flavor and the process it goes through. A pork’s hind leg (the same used to make prosciutto) is deboned, netted, and cured for at least a year before being softened in wine for a couple of days. It is produced exclusively in the flatlands north of Parma, Italy.

Finocchiona

This looks like the salami we’re used to, but is much more regional and not as well known here in the United States, where Genovese salami is more common. Finocchiona is native to Tuscany, and gets its exclusive name and flavor from being cured with fennel seeds. Their aromatic fragrance adds a punch to the salami you will not get from other variants.

Virsli

Photo courtesy of Claudio Gonzalez

This is another generalistic term for “sausage” that can be applied to variants from Vienna, Romania, Hungary, and other places. Typically, this type of sausage is smoked and can then be served boiled or grilled. The spices vary by region, according to Giorgioni, who says that while Romanians typically use a lot more garlic, you may find a lot more hot paprika in Hungarian virsli.

Salumi Rosa

You’ll be hard-pressed to find this cut (pictured in the bottom part of the above platter) outside of Bologna, Italy. The city’s signature charcuterie is made in a style similar to mortadella, but only the pork shoulder meat is ground. Lard is “marbled” into the cut before it’s cooked, giving it the effect of an almost checkered sliver of meat. It’s best eaten thinly sliced with a good loaf of bread.

Eastern Prosciutto

Photo courtesy of Claudio Gonzalez

This specifically refers to prosciutto made in parts of Eastern Europe, since the process differs a little bit from Italy. Both are whole, salted pork hind legs, but in Eastern Europe the entire leg is also smoked, making it less salty than the Italian counterpart.

Liver Mousse

Liver mousse is technically charcuterie because the term refers to cold cooked meats. As such, pates like this can be commonly found in butcher and charcuterie shops all over the U.S. The key to cooking these is to seal the top with a layer of animal fat, almost like natural Tupperware. It is then baked in a water bath, bain-marie style, to keep the temperature even and prevent parts of the mousse from overcooking.

Categories
Grocery Video

Meat Expert Explains The Differences Between Quality And Cheap Deli Meats

By no means am I an expert on deli meat. I enjoy eating meat, and occasionally grilling up a hot dog or two, but my expertise is as limited as what I see in the butcher section of my Italian deli.

There’s always a nagging in the back of my head when I buy meat, whether or not it’s actually quality stuff or just older cuts the store is trying to get rid of to customers who don’t know any better.

Well, Epicurious brought in meat expert Eli Cairo to point out the different between cheap and expensive deli meats in a fascinating YouTube video.

The meats Cairo covered included salami, ham, bologna, hot dogs, and prosciutto. In the video, he talked about the things you should look for when purchasing those meats, such as colors, regulated labels, and marbling. Cairo was given two meats, and was tasked with deciphering which of the two was more expensive through the sense of sight, smell, and taste.

Pretty useful if you’re one who frequents a deli, or simply enjoys snacking on deli meats. Check out the video and perhaps you’ll be a little wiser on your next meat run.

Categories
Cravings

The Monte Cristo Burger is Made with Custard-Soaked Fried Buns and Maple Syrup

Umami Burger Monte Cristo

This Monte Cristo Burger was created by Top-Chef winner Michael Voltaggio for the Umami Burger chain. I’m gonna let you have a second to take in all that goodness above before I go on.

Made with Umami’s signature beef patty, the Monte Cristo is smothered in gruyère fondue and prosciutto. It’s then sandwiched between two custard-soaked fried buns and sprinkled with powdered sugar. For good measure, each burger comes served with a side of Umami’s special maple syrup.

The Monte Cristo burger will be available to order across the nation Tuesday, Jan. 28. A dollar from each burger sale will go towards the Los Angeles Mission.

H/T + Picthx First We Feast

Categories
#foodbeast

Goat Cheese, Pear and Prosciutto Tart

goat-cheese-pear-tart

Via MandyMortimer

Categories
Fast Food

Wendy’s Japan Prosciutto Burger Can F@#K On Off Right Now

prosciuttoburger

Prosciutto is practically bougie bacon, so it’s only logical that the buttery, dry-cured Italian ham has finally made its way onto a fast food burger. What isn’t logical is that it didn’t happen here.

For a few years now, Wendy’s Japan has been playing with its own “Premium” line of burgers including such gloriously upper class creations as the Foie Gras Rossini, Lobster and Caviar, Surf & Turf, Avocado Wasabi and now, the Prosciutto Mozzarella Italiano. Featuring the eponymous prosciutto dressed with basil cream cheese sauce, sun-dried tomato sauce, mozzarella, spring greens, mayonnaise and tomato, it’s more than enough to make you curse yourself for not living in Japan.

And okay, we know we’ve been asking this question pretty much ad nauseam by now but seriously, why do foreign countries get all the good food? Are foreign fast food menu designers just more adventurous than ours are? Is the rest of the world just classier? Do Japanese people get to eat like this all the time?

The Prosciutto Mozzarella Italiano is now available from Wendy’s Japan for 880 yen (~$8.96 USD), where it will continue to mock us with its sheer existence, UGH.

H/T + PicThx Brand Eating

Categories
Cravings

Prosciutto and Dates

A date, wrapped in prosciutto. Created in honor of the fallen TV star, Gary Coleman. They’re sweet…they’re pudgy…just like Gary Coleman? I can get on board, the thought of these salty and sweet flavors coming together sound absolutely delicious. I would almost want an entire burrito made out of these things! Prosciutto wrap with date filling. Game changer? You heard it here first! (PicThx MySocialChef)

Categories
Cravings

Bruschetta with Rosemary, Roasted Plum Tomatoes, Ricotta, and Prosciutto

The pinnacle  of finger foods! The perfect blend of  flavors that will melt in your mouth and take your taste buds to a different planet! Crunchy baguette, creamy ricotta, salty and savory prosciutto, sweet roasted plum tomatoes that is topped with baby arugula! Imagine wrapping your tongue around a couple of these? Easy finger foods are so bomb! (Thx Susi)

Categories
Cravings

The Perfect Summer Salad: Nectarine, Tomato, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto

The ultimate combination of summer flavors at their peaks! Nectarines, tomatoes, mozzarella, and prosciutto. All topped off with a drizzle of basil oil. June-August all on one plate. (Thx lisaiscooking)